Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Southern California Fun

On Friday, the day started with a nice long walk in the sunshine with River around the parking lot and vacinity of the studio in Campbell where we were going to gather for my FreeDance Playshop.

It was a thrilling few hours as we addressed what FreeDancing is, why we do it and how we do it. It is so rewarding to see lightbulbs go off and boundaries be challenged by playing around with the wonders of FreeDance.

A couple of the students were loath to accept the notion that FreeDance could be guided. They insisted that it was only FreeDance if they could do whatever they wanted. I first assured them that they could do anything they wanted in a FreeDance and not be incorrect, but that in a Nia class, the majority of the time there is some form of guidance being given. And that is also FreeDance because the choice of movement is ultimately up to the student to make.

In my Frankie Say Nia routine, there are two instances where I will establish a movement kata and then after a while say that it's time to take the movement through the room. That, too, is a form of FreeDance, as the student chooses how and where to do the movement. As a teacher, my intention when offering guidance is to assist and stimulate the student, not to prohibit anything or to consider anything the student is doing as being wrong. 

And to top off the experience, I like to teach my all FreeDance routine. One of the participants was a long-time teacher with many older routines under her belt and she recognized many of the FreeDance songs that Carlos has crafted over the years. The first song from Mantra, the swordplay song from Bliss, the fool dance from Universal Mind, the flounce from AO, etc.

Immediately after the playshop ended, I packed River up and we drove all the way down to Santa Barbara. I stayed at my Aunt Dorothy's house, which is a house I have frequented for as long as I can remember. Every year in August for an Old Spanish Days celebration, she and my Uncle Tommy would host a big Spanish feast. My favorites were the enchiladas. I looked forward to them every year. And so of course, I had plenty of enchiladas while I was there. I had some for dinner, and then, for breakfast, I had a few more with fried eggs on top had then I had a cooler full of them when I left the next day.

Five months ago (since the last time I saw her) she retired from a long-term stressful job in a law office and from that time until now she has lost a lot of weight and feels terrific. She exercises several times a week and knows it has benefits, but also feels strongly that she lost the weight because of the reduction of stressors in her life. Namely, her job. I tend to agree with her assessment. I'd say it sounds like the M.O. of a hormone called cortisol, which she's no longer pumping herself with every day, 24 hours a day.

River can certainly feel the difference between being in a live house and in a motel room. I wanted to leave River in the car and set up a crate for him in 'my room' so I could just scoot him right into it. She seemed to think it was sad, but I explained to her that it wasn't because when I brought River into the giant house, he'll want to fill it with his nervous energy and that invites people to react to him and it becomes a vicious circle of excitement. It was a cat house, too. And the cat was nowhere to be found, but River was constantly on the lookout for the source of that ubiquitous odor.

Having the crate ready and ushering him straight into it, gives him a chance to relax and acclimate to the 'buzz' and the scent of the house before he reacts. 'He's not in trouble', I explained, 'I'm helping him relax'.

The next day, Dorothy, River and I took a long walk to a park where River and I played a few good rounds of Bite and Carry. After that, River spotted a dog waiting to cross the street at the corner and stretched down into a slow bow that collapsed into a sideways heap. Much better than his typical old response which was to go on high alert, and possibly escalate to defensive tactical action.

Next stop was San Diego.

I arrived early enough in SD that I couldn't check into my motel, so River and I went to the food co-op store to refill our water jugs and then hung out at Robb Baseball Field. We hung out in the sun for a long time, I did some of my exercises and snuck in some for him.

At one point, we ran too far astray from the soft grass and found some grass prickly enough to make us both wince and slowly step backwards and turn around and walk lightly with thorns in our feet. By the time we were done, he lied down for a while, calmly panting with big open face.

I lost track of time and ended up sitting and playing in the sun for about two hours. I ended up with a sunburn, but it was worth it. I met up with my facebook friend and Nia sister, Audrey in the mall for some like totally cool and awesome good for you food. I got a squash pizza with a generous heap of arugula and ate half of it before class and the other half as a midnight snack.

I taught Frankie Say Nia with an enthusiastic group, many of whom had gone all out eighties with hair scrunchies and bright neon! It was right in the flightpath for the nearby airport. So about four times during class, all we could hear was the jet engine. The funny thing is that afterwards, at dinner a student in class explained that they were so used to the regular jets that they don't even hear them anymore. That helps explain why my jokes about the jet noise didn't get any laughs.

After having dinner with some folks from the class we got back on the highway and headed up north to L.A. where we spent the night.

First thing in the morning, I was back in traffic on my way to teach a class in Santa Monica. So much traffic, in fact, that I was at one point wondering if  maybe I had underestimated the time it would take to get to the studio, find parking and get set up. As it turns out, I got there in plenty of time and found parking right by the door.

Frankie Say Nia was off the charts in L.A! The energy from Santa Monica did not disappoint. Much singing, much smiling, joyful moving and bright neon colors. Very creative and inspiring energy.

Tomorrow, I'm excited to be getting together with some of the LA Nia teachers and putting together my first collaborative song for the community synergy routine before I take off for our next destination; Tempe.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Double Header in Northern California

This morning I woke up at 6:00am, giving myself one hour before wanting to hit the road. In that hour, I expected myself to wake up, take a shower, get dressed, make my coffee, take a picture of it, post it to Facebook, drink it, wash the dishes, walk River and give him enough time to do his business, pack up my bags and load the car up. Miraculously, I made it. When I started the engine, it was 7:01am.

The sun was coming up in the east as I drove east to my destination. I got to learn two things about Babe this morning. One is that I don't know how to control the brightness of the instrument panel. And I have all the lights set to dim automatically in response to the sun. For some reason, the effect this morning confused the sensors and I had a face-full of morning sunlight and a super dim dashboard. Net result, I couldn't see anything. I had to guess my speed and go entirely by sound on the navigation. Whenever I had a chance,  fuss around, looking for a knob or button or dial that would bring the lights back up. To no avail. I still don't know how to override that automatic brightness control. Add that to the list of things I need to ask the dealer about when I get back to Seattle.

The other thing I learned this morning was that I don't know how to turn the headlights on. As I said, everything is set to automatic. But I went through a 'Daylight Safety Corridor" with a sign asking "Turn Headlights On for the Next 12 Miles" which I had to disobey since I couldn't figure it out. By the way, this one I did eventually figure out, when I stopped. I searched high and low and finally found the headlight dial.

I got to the studio in Nevada City and was the first one there. So I took River on another little walk and took the opportunity to eat some fruit. Class today was at Core Movement Center and there were more belted students in class than non-belted. This makes my job as the teacher SO EASY! They knew all the moves and loved to move, so I had to only make the merest suggestion and the whole room was all over it. So much fun. And the floor in the space is delightful. Soft and squishy like a wrestling mat.

I know that people in California love to talk about the highways. So I made a point of remembering the route I took from Nevada City to San Jose where my next stop was. I-80, to 680, to 880.

Along the way, I saw a sign designating a Vista Point. I love those and unless I'm crunched for time, I will usually stop and check it out. But once I got off the highway, there were no signs pointing to right or left.  I went right, hoping to find it. I passed a power plant with smoke billowing out of the spires. And I passed a trainyard and ended up on a dead end street in an industrial business complex.

click here for video

River and I played with his toy for a bit. Then we just walked around soaking up the sunshine. We ended up just hanging out there in Benicia for an hour, and never did find any Vista Point.

I didn't hit any traffic, which was a nice surprise for driving in the Bay Area. But this is interesting...
On Sunday I taught two classes and I also teach twice today. On Sunday, going from my first to second gig, I noticed that traffic going the opposite way (into Portland as I was going out) was horrendous. It was stopped for what seemed like miles. I was so glad to be going west and not east. And then again today, going from gig number one to gig number two, I saw a parking lot on the highway going the opposite direction as me. I was glad not to be leaving San Francisco and headed east because many of those people were going to be late to wherever they were headed. 

I rolled the odometer over 1000 miles just outside of Vacaville today. At the 921 miles mark, I saw an alarming message on my display. It said "Drive Train Malfunction! Full Power Will Not Be Available. Contact Service." Well, that certainly did not fill me with confidence. I didn't feel anything change in the way the car was handling or responding, and the message disappeared eventually without a trace. Later, when I was stopped, I searched through everywhere I knew I might see a warning, but came up empty. I'll be sure to mention it to the next Mini dealer I drive past.

I made it to the Motel 6 just before 3:00pm. I had on my Motel 6 t-shirt, which usually gets a few raised eyebrows and comments. I would swear they often thing I'm from corporate, and I'm checking up on customer service skills.  (which is dumb. If I was checking up on you, I'm not going to announcing it with a company brand T shirt.)  And maybe it's just a co-incidence, or maybe they just feel a kinship with me, but it feels like whenever I check in wearing this t-shirt, I get over-the-top friendly customer service.  I think if he didn't have to stay manning the desk, he might have walked me (or carried me) to my room.

I showered and ate and rested up and then headed to the studio for my second class.

Teaching two classes in a day is a challenge for me. Not physically, as I could easily teach for hours, but it's more of a mental and emotional challenge. Mentally, I sometimes get confused, thinking "didn't I just say this?" Or in the second class I might make a reference to something I had said in the first class, and it falls flat because the students in the second class have no idea what I'm referring to. And emotionally, it can be a challenge if I find myself expecting for a repeat of the first class. I can sometimes catch myself not being in the moment the second time around, but comparing the two experiences.

Fortunately today, none of that happened. Today's second class was very different than the first one. There were a lot of belts in this class, too, which I love. The room was twice as big and the attendance about half of this morning. I had a great time with both groups today and learned things about the routine each time.

As I was setting up the stereo (I couldn't figure out how to plug in my microphone) I heard the sound of my phone's camera shutter going crazy. I must've been holding the button down and was taking picture after picture. As soon as I heard the shutter sound, I immediately faced the camera and smiled. The resulting picture is quite horrific and embarrassing.  This was not one of my better moments.

After class, Terre and her husband John took us all out to dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery. I had a burger with hashbrowns, cheese, bacon and a fried egg on it, with steamed vegetables on the side. It was so good. River sat with us without incident. The worst thing that happened over dinner was when I was talking about a Nia movement, using my arms wildly, just as the waiter walked up and caught a fist bump in his groin. I don't think I hurt him too badly, though.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Heating up in Northern California

When I woke up in Medford it was a brisk 55 degrees, but by the time we crossed over into California, the temperature had shot up almost 30 degrees. In the 80's, my sweats and hoodie were definitely overkill. It was just plain old hot by 2 pm.

I'm having some issues with Babe the Blue. I love the exterior, but inside, so far, she and I are not getting along. A lot of it (I hope) has to do with my learning curve and being used to things different. I'm not really getting the hang of the integration with the iPhone. In the past, I've had zero luck with any iPhone/Mini integration. My dealer assured me they have been working on it, but I have yet to be impressed in the slightest. In order for me to play music that I have on my phone, I have to unlock my phone, enter my security PIN, navigate to iTunes, find the song and press play. All on the phone, while driving! And this, they call integration? The only thing the car is doing is serving as a speaker. I can see the playlist on my car using the Mini controls, but I can't change the playlist that's playing, press play or pause or skip to the next track. It seems the only thing I can actually do from Mini is to replay the song that's currently playing.

If I get tired of fussing with that, I can unplug my phone from the car and play the music out of my iPhone speaker. Or so you'd think!! No! For some reason when I"m in my car, I can't get the phone to play. I don't hear the keystroke clicks or any music from iTunes. When I'm back in the motel room, I can hear it fine.

Mini is also supposed to have Voice Activation.  My dealer told me that I could access the navigation system with my voice, but it doesn't seem to work for me. I push the button and I hear no beep and if I say "Help!" which the owner's manual recommended as a way to get an introduction to the system when first using it, I get no response. If the phone is plugged in, and I hold down the Voice Activation button on the steering wheel, I can get in touch with Siri through the car. But when I ask her for directions, she opens up the navigation system on my phone. Nothing shows on the car display.

There are still other issues I'm having with the car. But as I said, I'm not sure if they're real issues or just my adjustment period. And I didn't want this whole blog to be me complaining about the car, so I'll save some other observations for a different entry.

I'm really hoping that I'm just not figuring out the right way to operate these things because if this is Mini's idea of iPhone integration and Voice Activation, I'm not interested and I may even start test driving other models of car until Mini can get it together.

The driving part is fun, though. There's a SPORT mode and regular driving and a GREEN mode. In Sport, the car seems much more responsive and the suspension is tighter, so I can really take turns and accelerate quickly. It's fun for windy roads or city driving.

In GREEN mode, the response is more softened, and it shows little tips for getting better gas mileage, like when to coast or ease my foot of the gas pedal a bit. And it keeps track of how many extra miles I've squeezed out of the tank by driving Green.

As we drove into California, I saw the beauty of Mt. Shasta, with a crescent moon over it. It doesn't show up in this picture though.

The solution to the problem of River pushing Babe's buttons wasn't resolved by the placement of the driving journal. It slowed the the problem down, but eventually, he was just mashing all of the buttons with the book and still changing my display. So I had to make some bigger changes...

This new system seems to work so far. The one weird thing is that River stands up on the door handle and really sticks his head out the window when we're going slower than 35 MPH. So I had to take away window privileges by rolling it up when we're not on the highway.

The uploading and processing of these simple videos is turning out to be much more trouble than their worth. If I don't find the groove, I'm afraid I'm not going to be motivated to keep a blog of my travels. Which is a shame because I love to share all the cool stuff I'm doing and the thoughts I'm having.

Again it seems to be an issue with compatibility between iPhone, Blogger, YouTube and iPhoto. I wish there was just a simple way to shoot some video on the road. Put all the video into one place and edit them nicely into one single video of the highlights, and then pop that up on my blog. If there is a way to do this, I haven't figured it out and don't even know where to begin or what to do differently than what I'm trying, which doesn't work. Error messages stress me out. And not knowing how to do something is incredibly frustrating. It's harshing my road trip buzz. So don't be surprised if I suddenly go silent.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Headin' to Medford

It was a lazy day.
From Eugene to Medford is a short drive so we made the most out of a few stops along the way.
We stopped at a rest area in Creswell, OR that had such a zen stillness and haunting quality to it almost as if soft, eerie music was playing.
I noticed the bare tree branches against a beautiful cloudy sky; the mountain. the grass, the flowers... the sound of the wind in my ears, and some bees gathering around one of the posts of the roof over the table I was eating my breakfast on. 

River was so relaxed and interactive and I'm happy with how it went today when I brought a toy out.  I wanted to see if he would bite and carry it. He was hesitant at first, but I teased the ground with it, and then his legs and finally he bit it and we took it and we ran with it for a while.
He drops it pretty quickly. I need to use a bigger toy next time.

I was trying to initiate a push of war with him, but he wasn't interested in that. He would push once but then when I pushed back, he was done. Next time I will give him a bit less of a push. And I think I may have forgotten to say "PUSH" which he responds to by charging into me, but I hesitate to use the word because he associates it with the snarling energy I don't want to foster anymore. I didn't get any of that today. We just laughed and played.

He found a hard piece of plastic tubing that had teeth marks on it and we played with that for a bit in the same way. He was a bit more into biting that one, but not so much into holding on to it. He gave a few chews as we ran and then spit it out, too.

When he lost focus and wandered off, I threw the toy so that it was landed near the tree and drew him toward it. Then when as was interested in the tree, I grabbed the toy again. Once he moved on from the tree, and sniffed something else, I put the toy in the tree and called "Ready?" He looked at me, and I made a gesture to the toy in the tree. He didn't see it at first but I kept pointing and inched a little bit closer, he finally noticed and grabbed it. I backed up and he jumped up on me and dropped it as I pushed on him.

He did a great job today, I was so proud of him.

River has a tendency to stretch out and knock into the joystick or hit the buttons or turn the knobs that control all of the interaction I have with Babe. When I'm not paying attention, he can change my map view or call someone or change the music.

I had to keep pushing him off the control buttons and we were getting a bit miffed at each other.
And then I came up with a rather convenient solution, as it happens. I hadn't quite settled on the place where my driving journal would be kept. It needs to be easily accessible, without being in the way. Space is precious in Babe. So I wedged it in between the seat and the controls. He can use it as a shelf and it protects the buttons from his interference. And it couldn't be in a more handy place in the car.

So that worked out well for us, and we made up immediately.
From then on it was smooth sailing. Pals again.


Last night, zipping up my new Eddie Bauer rain slicker, the zipper caught the lining and tore it. So today, I stopped at the Rogue River Mall and went into the Eddie Bauer store. I explained it to them and they quickly gave me a new one with a smile. 

I bought rain slicker with a removable fleece lining maybe nine years ago at an outlet mall. I wore it a lot, and loved it. Eventually, the internal lining seemed to disintegrate. Each particle stayed contained internally until the piece was small enough to make it through the mesh layer and onto my clothes, giving me the appearance of being covered in itchy white flakes.

So I brought it back to my local Eddie Bauer store and they told me they couldn't help me because the concept of satisfaction for a lifetime refers to the lifetime of the garment, not of the person. Plus they didn't sell that model anymore, so couldn't tell me how much it was worth. Sorry. But no, she said.

I didn't like that answer, so I went home and was prepared to never shop at Eddie Bauer again, when I could just as easily get stuff at REI, Patagonia, or many other places. But I also wrote an email to EBHQ and told them my story. They said they'd honor the slogan and asked me to return the jacket. I did, and they sent me a gift certificate for $75, which I used to buy not only a new slicker, but also to replace my luggage (which I'd gotten from Eddie Bauer well over a decade ago). I like their stuff and most of their customer service.

We pulled into the Motel 6 in Medford but our room wasn't ready yet, so we explored the Rogue River, which runs right by the property. I've stayed in this Motel twice before and never knew the River was so close. We hung out in that for a while until the room was ready.
Back in the room I had my lunch and then took River out for his feeding. We also explored a baseball field. We didn't go on the diamond, but walked around and hung out on high up on the bleachers for a little bit. On the way back to our room, River posed on this big rock in the parking lot.
Room 144 is right near the laundry room. And it's cheap here. Only $1.25 for the superwash and $1 for an hour in the drier. So I did all my laundry, and two of River's blankets. Then I had my dinner and took a shower. I've been writing ever since.

Tonight I plan to take a look at the choreography for some Rock and Roll Nia songs I'm teaching in Arizona next week. I haven't looked at them in a couple of years; they may need some review.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rainy Eugene

I woke up in Portland and took River for a walk. It was just starting to rain very lightly.
I had my coffee and breakfast and packed the car up. No sooner had I started the engine when the sky opened up and it really started to rain.

I had less than a two hour drive ahead of me and three hours before check-in time, so I was planning to make a few stops along the way and play with River in a park. But the rain was demotivating.

I stopped for gas and learned that the gas tank was on the passenger side. In Oregon, all gas stations are tended by professional gas-pumpers (I'm not sure of the proper term) so when I pulled into the station the wrong way, he politely informed me that it was on the other side. The past two Mini Coopers I drove had the gas tank on the drivers side.

The rain gods were smiling on us today as both times we approached a rest area, the rain stopped long enough for us to get out of the car and enjoy some nature. At the first one, we took a tour of all of the state trees along a hiking path. And at the second one, I got River to chase me and grab a toy out of my hand. So we were able to kill enough time so that I pulled into the motel in Eugene exactly at our 3:00 check-in time.

I had been frustrated by a design feature inside the car. At the center of the dashboard is a large round display screen, where I interact with Babe. It shows the navigation, the radio information, on board stuff like oil levels and tire pressure, my address book and many other things I have yet to figure out. And surrounding this display is an LED lighting effect. It has the ability to shine in all the colors of the rainbow, but it was stuck in an odd configuration. Most of it was dark, except for at about three o'clock on the dial, it was yellow and faded to red at about four o'clock. It offended my aesthetic sensibilities as being completely off balance and inexplicable.

I wrote an email to my Mini dealer and asked him what the deal was. He explained to me that it was acting as a tachometer. When I revved the engine, a white light showed up on the left side of the dial and worked its way around. The yellow and red represented my danger zones. Blech! He also explained to me how I can set it so that the entire ring rotates through all the colors. That made me very happy.

Look at it now!
He also told me how to change it so the car wouldn't loudly BEEP every time I locked it and BEEP BEEP every time I unlocked it. Slowly, I'm acclimating to Babe.

Anyway, I arrived in Eugene, fed River and myself and had the rest of the day free.

The next day, I also had mostly free, and it was still raining. We went on a couple of wet walks and I went to a local store to get some fruit and some crème fraîche. I also got a ginger cookie that looked too good to pass up.

I had one client who needed some quick work on his upper back and shortly after that it was time to go to the Reach Center to teach a Nia class. By this time it had actually stopped raining. It wasn't sunny, but at least we could walk around without getting wet.

We had about four people signed up for class tonight, so we didn't know what kind of turn-out we'd have, but the room was filled with over 15 dancing bodies and we had a blast. So much fun, in fact, that no one stopped to take any pictures. But trust me, it was awesome! Before class started, when I announced that the routine was not only 80's music but specifically "New Wave" music, some of the students started jumping and squealing in excitement.

I'm loving the idea of traveling with jars of fermented vegetables. It is the first time on these trips that I'm not obsessed with the refrigeration of my fresh produce. And dinner preparation is so easy now that all I need to do is heat up my meat and open up a few jars.

Earlier today when I was at the store, I thought I should buy a box of cookies for later. But I decided against it, opting instead for the immediate satisfaction of the one ginger cookie. But now that 'later' has arrived, I sort of wish I had a box of cookies.

Typically when I'm on these road trips, I eat far less than I do when I'm in the comfort and enjoying the convenience of my own home. And I tend to lose a bit of weight, too. So I've been on the road for three days now and already it seems like my jeans are falling off. Maybe I should've gotten those cookies after all. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

First stop, Portland

River woke me up the day we were scheduled to leave. In my sleep, I heard a smacking sound and opened my eyes to find him sitting very near the bed, right by my head. He smacks when he's nervous. I hadn't started packing, and obviously wasn't thinking or talking about the trip while I was asleep, but it seemed like he knew something was going to happen.

The whole morning, he didn't leave my side. I would swear he knew I was going to leave and wanted to make sure I didn't leave without him.

I put him in his crate so I could load up the car in peace. He whined much of the morning and didn't take his eyes off of me. Especially when I started loading my luggage into Babe, he was visibly upset and noisy. So imagine his delight when finally, I strapped him into his passenger seat. It was his first time meeting Babe the Blue Car, so it took a little bit of acclimation before I felt he was calm enough to start the engine and take off.

Bye, Babe ... be sure to come back now ya hear

Posted by Zeke Urmston on Saturday, March 21, 2015

The first bit of driving, through the city of Seattle, was a bit rough for River. He hadn't yet gotten his car legs, and was wobbling all over the place. I took a cue from Natural Dog Training which uses physical imbalance to create stability and drove very sporty. I would stop and accelerate quickly and take turns suddenly. Every once in a while I'd tell him "Down!" as we made a particularly jarring maneuver. Soon, he was so concerned with finding his stability that he bonded with the car seat and settled into the ride.

I had planned on stopping at a rest area about 45 minutes out. Typically, on the first day of our trips, River starts to make his urpy face; meaning, if we don't pull over soon, he's going to barf. But on this trip, once he settled in, he seemed ready to go all day, so we made it to Portland in one trip.

I paid for two nights in the room and immediately had a client come and see me. I've been to Portland many times and have actually developed a bit of a clientele here. This one client covered the cost of both nights in the room. So far, so good. ;)

The next morning, I was scheduled to teach the first class of my trip; an important one for me, since it was at Nia Headquarters. This studio holds a special place in my heart as, over the past 18 years, I have returned again and again to take my Nia belt intensives and other trainings. It is a home away from home.

Alas, it wasn't to be. I didn't have a local producer. In my hubris, I thought that simply announcing my return to Nia Mecca would be enough to draw a crowd. I got into the room, set up River's cage, changed my clothes, put on some New Wave pre-class music and waited.... and waited.... and then, five minutes after noon, the room was still empty.
I packed everything back up and ran home with my tail between my legs.

I took the opportunity to show River a bit of downtown Portland. We were just a few blocks from the food trucks and I was hungry so we took a tour around that block a few times. It was Sunday and it was raining, so at least half of the trucks were closed. But I found a truck making grilled cheese sandwiches and got one with brie and red peppers.

River was remarkable. Historically, he doesn't do well in crowds, but today he stayed right by my side, even as we walked past other dogs (usually a trigger for him). We also stopped three times when strangers asked if they could pet him. He received their affections with aplomb and never got even slightly riled up.

Later that afternoon, my second class was scheduled at Step In Studio. So we got back in the car and trekked about 45 minutes to Forest Grove. Last year, I was scheduled to teach in a jam at Step In Studio, but got caught in severe traffic and wasn't able to make it. So this time, I allowed plenty of time and arrived 90 minutes early. I took the opportunity to read a bit of the Mini Cooper owner's manual. So many bells and whistles; I was like a kid in a candy store, but I didn't know how to do simple things like turn on the high beams or unlock the passenger door.

At Step In Studio, we had a dozen happy dancers and I was finally able to christen my routine, Frankie Say Nia. Due to a message I had included on the flyer, people were aware of my work with River. In particular, that I didn't want people greeting him indoors so that he could remain relaxed. This seemed to pay off, because after class we were all in the lobby and River was receiving calm affection from some of the students. And he even rolled over and lifted up his leg so that I could rub his belly. It took me months of patient coaxing to get him comfortable enough to do it for me when it was just he and I in our house. But this was literally the first time he had done this in public, and I was delighted to see it.

Back in the room, I had another client come and see me before having dinner and watching a bit of TV before bed. I made the mistake of watching a marathon of a show called Forensic Files. I was appalled at the way people murder each other, over and over again, and amazed at how something as innocuous as a strand of hair could be enough evidence to send someone to the electric chair. Fortunately, I didn't have nightmares.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Billings Nia with JAG

Friday, June 19
6 - 8 pm
Yellowstone Dance Company
106 N 29th St.
Billings, MT

Join JAG for two hours of learning and playing. Using his latest creation, called Frankie Say Nia*; a Nia routine with all 80's alternative New Wave music, we will spend the first hour learning the moves of the routine and the 52 Moves of Nia. We'll be discussing how they show up in the routine. JAG will be breaking down the choreography to the routine, and offering lots of insight into how we use the focus and intent. He will show exactly how to use Creative Arm and Hand Expressions and the concept of Form and Freedom to make Choices to Manifest the High Magic of Nia to access and claim our Personal Power.

In the second hour, we'll play. JAG will lead through a the Frankie Say Nia routine. Doing the routine after the review of the first hour will be so deep and so much fun and such a rich, rewarding, powerful experience that will leave us all relaxed into our personal power.

The cost for this exciting event is $20, but you can save $5 by registering a week in advance.
Using this button, you can sign up for the "Frankie Say 52 Moves Play and Workshop".

Nia with JAG
This discount is only available until Jun 12, so plan ahead.

You can also register in advance with cash if you get in touch with Sue Tucker at 406-698-6651.

*"Frankie Say Relax" was a meme made popular by a New Wave band called Frankie Goes to Hollywood in the early 80's. They had a hit song called "Relax (Don't Do It)" that is in the routine JAG created, so that is where the name "Frankie Say Nia" comes from.


Saturday, June 20
1 - 5 pm
Red Lodge School of Dance
20 N. Broadway Ave
Red Lodge, MT

In Nia we are driven by Joy and Pleasure. There is an art to it that goes beyond just Nia class. Many students have asked 'How do I sustain the feelings I get in a Nia class throughout the rest of my life?" How do I live in Joy and Happiness?

This is the focus of the Art of Joy; a playshop based on the concepts of First Degree Black Belt and of JAG's 13 Principles of Happiness. We will discuss what happiness is for each of us and what creates it and prevents it in our lives. We'll dance to get deep into ourselves where we can tap into the real root of our potential for happiness and joy.

Be prepared to see the world in a whole new way after this experience. You will leave this event with a big smile on your face. Happiness and Joy are everywhere once we're alerted to ways of sensing them.

Bring a pillow or a mat that will allow you to be comfortable sitting on the floor, and bring a notebook as you might want to write down inspirations you get throughout the playshop.

The event will conclude with a Nia class, giving us an opportunity to experience the Art of Joy in the context of Nia. JAG has created a Nia routine called 'Rejoice' with a focus on Loving Being Alive. It's quite joyful and a perfect way to wrap up our Art of Joy experience.

The cost of this event is $45 at the door.
You can save $6 by registering in advance. Use this button to pre-register through PayPal. The early bird discount of $39 is valid until June 13. You can also pre-register using cash by contacting Sue Tucker at 406-698-6651.

Nia with JAG