Starfire Bellydance Collective Shivers and Shimmies Showcase

This troupe combines years of training with years of experience from choreography to costume making. Like superheroes they go about their daily lives until that moment they don the sparkle to perform, and impart their knowledge, for others.

I am talking about the Starfire Bellydance Collective.

They will have their weekend workshop on February 6-7 on everything from Dance Your Sweat on to adding the bling to your costumes. Details on cost and other workshops over here.

However, if you want to heat up your Saturday night with great local dancers, along with guest dancers, then head over to the Rachel Browne Theatre on Saturday, February 6th. tickets are $20.00 at the door or order in advance online for $15.00.

See you there!



Music Monday: Head and Shoulders, Baby by Sharon, Lois, and Bram

Good-bye! January.

January earned its moniker as I felt on one hand I looked back, taking stock as you will while I looked forward to February rolling around. I wondered if January takes its name from a two-faced god, where does February’s name come from? According to a quick peek at Wikipedia, it’s Latin for purification. It fits as people begin to clean up their internal and external homes in this new year.

In my case, I felt a little nostalgic. Sometimes I want to take a break from ‘adulting’. I want not to worry about my mortgage or dealing with the onslaught of Valentine’s day. I did some purging around my house and found myself humming a bouncy tune. I realized it was the Sharon, Lois, and Bram classic ‘Head and Shoulders, Baby.’ I went back for a moment to Mrs. Hammond’s music class with it’s it’s 70’s brown carpeting, in it’s small amphitheater set up.

For today, I will lay aside my adult label to groove around to the front, to the back, to the side, side, side.

Remembering Challenger

And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God

High Flight, by John Gillespie Magee

Today marks 30 years since the space shuttle Challenger disaster. I came home from school for lunch, turned TV on to watch some noon-hour programming, and saw Peter Jennings solemn face as he broke the news. At that point, I, like many others, took the launches for granted, even forgotten how dangerous those voyages can get at times.

While many remember Christa McAuliffe, other stories emerged from the disaster including one about Ronald McNair. While we remember those inspiring curiosity, let’s also remember those with an enough faith it can take them far:

Music Monday: Homenaje Al Beny Castellano (Que Bueno Baila Usted) by Gente de Zona

I already shared tracks from the Chef soundtrack but finally appreciated the hip-shaking artistry of Genta de Zona. (Translated as ‘People from the neighbourhood’ from Spanish. My Portuguese got as far as ‘genta’, a word shared by both romance languages.) This Cuban group collaborated with Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony for hits in the Americas.

Meanwhile in a galley kitchen, located in the frigid confines of Winnipeg, a Portuguese-Canadian woman shakes her hips between doing dishes. It’s not a salsa club, but it will have to do. I wanted to include this in my playlist from last Monday. This group and their songs needed an entry all their own. Youtube has a good playlist of their songs on their Vevo or Spotify also does the trick. Take a track and blast it loud as suddenly the boring task does not seem so boring after all.

Don’t forget to shake your hips.

Music Monday: A Soundtrack to Light the Darkness

Usually, I feature one song or sometimes two. After writing about the January blues last Friday, I wanted to put together a four-song recommended playlist. How do you light the darkness? Play music.

Holly Cole Trio: I Can See Clearly Now

I tried to find the official video for the song but ended up with this home-made montage for Youtube. It’s a fabulous interpretation best played in stereo with the bass turned up.

Nelly Furtado: Powerless (Say What You Want)

I liked Folklore, Furtado’s follow up to her debut Whoa, Nelly. It sounded different from things released at the time and included Portuguese peppered on some of the tracks.  The song came on at a time I took a look at my life and began dumping a lot of baggage.

Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth: Defying Gravity

Before belting out ‘Let it Go’ as Elsa, Idina Menzel was Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West. ‘Defying Gravity’ was part of my playlist while training for the half-marathon portion of the Manitoba Marathon. As a not-so-skinny runner, it was one of my two theme songs.  I loved the bridge in this track as Elphaba tell the Oz residents off:

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
“Everyone deserves the chance to fly!”
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who’d ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I’m flying high
Defying gravity

Firework by Katy Perry

Firework was the other theme song during half-marathon training. Forget training it should be a theme for anything artist notwithstanding. Sometimes you can’t call up a friend late in the night, the negative voices filling your mind nitpicking everything you ever did. Sometimes plugging in a song makes them disappear back into the night they came from and enabled the will to carry on in a brand-new day.

The Unbearable Darkness of January

After a mild Christmas, January rolled around with a cold snap standard to Winnipeg. In other words, we have this:

The days have grown longer. In late November/early December, I left work at 4 pm in darkness. Now the sun goes down after 4:30 and edges closer to 5 pm. Mornings still have to catch up. I still wake up in the dark with the sun coming up closer to 8:30 am. January and February are ‘meh’ months with me. I work to get up, work at keeping motivated, and everything just feels harder than usual. Once March rolls around an internal switch gets flipped.

The only way to fight off the malaise is to get out once in a while plus have people over. January and February also mean being careful of the home-work-home treadmill. Nobody knows a rut has happened until the rut has happened. Nothing wrong with being at home with warm, comfy pajamas, Netflix, and heavy food. It’s trying not to repeat that pattern among the many in the winter months.

Plus spring feels so far away like it will never come.

Once spring does come around, everything else fades into memory until it happens again like it’s the first time. Many people with SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder) practice a mindful awareness about the turn of the seasons. I finally caught on to this turn for the first time in my life. It’s one thing to ‘know’, but it’s quite another to put it into practice.

Last night I took myself out to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Today I will remind myself laundry does not equal drudgery but self-care with clean clothes. The best part? New York draws even closer. Hang in there spring does come.

A New Book in the Story


I carry a journal in my purse. I adapted the notebook idea from the Natalie Goldberg classic Writing Down the Bones. Goldberg would buy bags based on how well they can carry her notebooks, and I even tried to emulate filling a notebook a month.

That’s still in progress.

I finished my black moleskin during Christmas break then got out this purple number. I got it on sale at Chapters with its slide closure an eye-catching feature. The first entry involved a conversation overheard at a Starbucks between a recently engaged couple. How do I know? The bride-to-be, a young woman, looking no more than 28, asked her groom-to-be, also the same age, if he wanted to start with engagement photo plans, venues, or the guest list.

The guest list won.

I scribbled in the new journal, sipping my white chocolate mocha, and still beaming about getting the acceptance email into the Winnipeg Public Library Writer’s Circle. I saw the email after I pulled out my phone to take pictures of some seriously blinged-out Starbucks cups:


65% Off Folks!


I mean serious with a serious price tag:


For the smaller tumbler. The taller one retailed for $187 regular.


My yelp came out a squeak as I waited for my drink. Maybe I can write a short story about blinged-out Starbucks cups in some rom-com Winnipeg novel.  Rom-com and Winnipeg, two things not normally going together.