Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is the BEST zoo that I have ever visited and I've visited several. I've gone to one in China, London, Chicago, Columbus, Portland, and I think that's all. What is so special about the Woodland Park Zoo is that you feel like you are walking in the habitat of the animals you visit and each habitat is separated from each other as if you are in an entirely different area. They have made it so beautiful and special for the visitor and for the animals. I'm so impressed and I need to visit at least once a month to just take a special walk to visit all the animals.

2014 Resolutions

1. Write every day--screenplay, revise novel, short stories.
2. Read every day at least two hours--writing craft, screenwriting, novels.
3. Practice Zumba choreography every day, especially Zumba Gold.
4. Find a Zumba Gold job by February. Send out at least three marketing letters in January.
5. Exercise at least an hour a day.
6. Eat healthy.
7. Drink more water.
8. Strength training at least 2x per week--Body Pump.
9. Walk around Green Lake at least once a week.
10. Go to the Zoo at least once a month.
11. Go to the Seattle Art Museum at least once a month.
12. Enjoy and be grateful for every day.
13. Always make the choice to see the best in people and be kind.
14. Read every day fitness training materials and continue to take training workshops with ACE, AFAA, and NESTA.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Crab Pot

One of my favorite things to do when I visit the Aquarium is to go to the Crab Pot and get fish and chips. It's the perfect place to eat right on the waterfront. The fish is perfect and it is always special.

Seattle Aquarium

I sure enjoy visiting the Seattle Aquarium. I'm a member. It's fun to visit the Sea Horses, Octopus, and rockfish. A rockfish can live to be 140 years old and the octopus only lives for 2 years.

Seattle Metro

I enjoy riding the bus and the last few days with family, we rode the bus twice to get to downtown Seattle. It was fun showing my family from out of state how great bus 41 is and how it goes into the tunnel under Seattle. We had a great time and it was fun.

I really appreciate Seattle Metro and bus 41. There are 4 double buses an hour that comes next to my apartment building and it only takes 15 minutes to get downtown. I get off at the University Station so I can go up into Benaroya Hall at the Seattle Symphony. It's convenient. It's close to the Seattle Art Museum, Library, 5th Avenue Theater, Pike Place Market, Aquarium, and everything I love about downtown Seattle.


My family went to see Garden d' Lights in Bellevue and it was gorgeous! These are my favorite light at Christmas and the holiday season. Who doesn't like flowers? This is the 19th year. 6417 hours were donated by 136 dedicated volunteers to create these flowers. Some of the flowers took nine hours of work.

Be sure to visit if you are in the Seattle area. It's worth the trip.


Friday, December 27, 2013

McCormick & Schmicks Harborside in Seattle

My son, Ben and his wife, Amanda took me and my son, Daniel and his wife, Jodee from Columbus, Ohio out for dinner last night at McCormick & Schmicks Harborside in Seattle. I had never been there before. The view from all sides was spectacular. You can see the Spaceneedle. You can see Lake Union and all the boats. It is a special occasion to come to McCormick & Schmicks for the whole experience complete from the décor, ambiance, the delicious food, the view of Lake Union makes it a  restaurant to come to celebrate.

Casey waited on us and she was the example of what a great waiter should be as she answered all questions with details and suggestions and nagivated our table perfectly. I regret not asking her to take a photo of all of us at the table. She said 800 people came yesterday so this is a busy place. I can see why. The menu is perfection.

I had the black cod and it was delicious. I had a martini. Then I had the best pie I have ever had in my life.....key lime pie. I will always remember this slice of pie and nothing else will compare.

I had a wonderful evening. It was a perfect setting for a perfect evening with family and I will always remember this night. I want more like this. This is the life I want to be able to come to great restaurants like this, travel, and a life style with someone to love where you don't have to worry about money.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

CPR Seattle

Went through CPR AED training last night at CPR Seattle for 4 1/2 hours. I'm impressed with this training and I feel strongly that EVERYONE should go through CPR training and get as much instruction as possible. If you are a parent, grandparent, neighbor, responsible member of the community, you need this training even if your work doesn't require it. I went through the training because I want to teach Zumba Gold soon. I also went through the Zumba Kids and Kids Jr. training so I took the Child CPR AED and Infant CPR training plus I'm a Grandma. I hope I never have to use this training but if there were an emergency, I'm grateful that I know what to do. I didn't know what an AED was until a few days ago. It's a defibrillator that shocks your heart if you are not breathing. Now after going through the training, I believe that anyone who has the money should invest in one. This is critical to saving a life and especially a loved ones' life. When we spend money on expensive cars, flat screen televisions, sound systems, and computers, isn't this important to invest in? Hopefully you don't have to use it but if it is needed, it can make the difference between life and death so it is insurance. It is also important to keep a well stocked first aid kit in your home and in your car. The number one emergency you might run into is a car accident so isn't it better to be prepared so you can help and save a life? This training is urgent and essential for everyone. Take the training, keep taking advanced training, get prepared so you can help and be there until a First Responder arrives and don't be afraid to call 911 if you don't know what to do and if it is a critical emergency. Sign up today and give a gift at Christmas.

 CPR Seattle; 4222 Stone Way North; Seattle; 206-504-3280.

 Farley Kautz is an outstanding instructor. Sign up today. If you have an emergency situation with a loved one, you will really regret not taking this action.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pink Martini

I can't quit thinking about Pink Martini. I LOVE this band. I love everyone in it and everything about it and everything it represents. Pink Martini is more than a band. It unites the world. No other band even comes close.

"As it turned out the songs that I gravitated towards were not exactly cheery or exuberant.  I mean they’re uplifting …  but in a devastating sort of way. This past January I totally panicked because the album, which was due to be released in April, just didn’t add up to “Get Happy.”  I thought: I don’t want the whole thing to be ironic. I do want it to be genuinely uplifting, and to provide authentic rays of happiness. " I love this quote by Thomas M. Lauderdale, the band leader, about the song selection for their newest album, GET HAPPY.

Thomas M. Lauderdale is pure awesome. He does it all. He can do anything and everything! He's a great writer and bandleader and perfect person plus he's very handsome. His beautiful daughter was on stage at Benaroya Hall and looked like she walked out of a fashion magazine.

I wish I could be part of Pink Martini. I wish I could travel with the band and be part of the family. I wish I could be included. I don't play a musical instrument well enough. I don't sing well enough. They sure don't need me to write about the band because Thomas has that covered. In my dreams............

Buy the album, GET HAPPY. Buy all the albums. Live and breathe Pink Martini. Let it seep into your soul to become part of you.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Zumba Kids

I received my certificate to teach Zumba Kids and Zumba Kids Jr. Hurray! It will be fun.

Zumba Kids is joyful and is a wonderful choice for kids to enjoy exercise and movement which is essential for health and fitness as they do schoolwork. I look forward to teaching Zumba Kids.

Pink Martini

Had a wonderful evening at Benaroya Hall listening to my favorite band, Pink Martini. I bought the ticket months ago and this is the first time I have seen them. My son, Daniel gave me a CD years ago and I have loved them ever since. They are an international band from Portland, Oregon. They are always touring the world and they play international music. I love them. It's hard to sit still when you listen to them. You want to move and dance and sway. They are passionate. I think each one of them exudes passion from every fiber of their being because that is how they play and sing. Everyone loved them. I stayed to have them sign CD's.

China Forbes has got to be the greatest female vocalist alive. Her voice is powerful and strong and passionate and sensual all at the same time. She's beautiful.

Everyone in the band is the best of the best. They belong to the world. I love it that they sing international songs and that they sing lyrics in other languages. I love Brazil. I was hoping they would play it but I guess that would have been over the top for a holiday choice. I would have loved it.

They have a new CD out, Get Happy. Buy one. Buy several for gifts. Once you buy one, you will want to buy them all.


Pink Martini was sponsored by Russell Investments. Russell Investments are a major presence in Seattle and located on Second next to Benaroya Hall on Third. In the last week, someone told me they worked for an investment firm and the first name that came to my mind was Russell Investments and that is where she works. She's a Zumba instructor.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

NY TImes: Disani's Homeless Life

On the front page of the New York Times this morning and yesterday is the story about a homeless girl in NYC named Disani. A series written by Andrea Elliott follows Disani's life and is an important story to read. I wouldn't be surprised if this series wins a Pulitzer.

Monday, December 09, 2013


When I am in the company of ZIN members (Zumba instructors), I am the worst dancer, fattest, and oldest. I've spent a lot of money on training and plan to continue because I want to lose weight, find my place, and get healthier and better. This means I am trying and want a better future. I'm not teaching yet. I haven't even gotten off the ground but I am trying. Foolish to keep holding on to a dream to want to lose weight, help people become healthy and fit?

Why did I post this? I felt left out and not included. I was judged in a negative way for wearing an instructor shirt and for taking lots of training even though I am not teaching my own class. I realize I'm not the best dancer in the room. Some people like to pop other people's balloons and crush other people's dreams.

 I am trying to learn. I am trying to fit in. I am trying to get really good at Zumba Gold so that someday I can inspire others.

I'm going to ignore all this and keep trying hard. I want to be the best I can be. I want to lose weight. I want to be great at Zumba. I want to teach Zumba Gold.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

ZIN Jammer Andrew Walker

I went to a ZIN (Zumba Instructor Network) Jam today to learn choreography to five Zumba songs by Zumba Jammer, Andrew Walker. He was amazing and fun and a great dancer. I had so much fun.

I danced for three hours at Mode Studio in Capitol Hill. I had the BEST time. I learned new moves and met so many nice instructors and had fun talking to the people I know.

Trader Joes

I absolutely love shopping at Trader Joes. Today was the first time I have ever shopped at the Trader Joes in Capitol Hill in Seattle. I was driving by and saw it so I turned. It was very crowded but that was okay. It was glorious. There are always the best prices, always the best selection of healthy foods, always fresh produce, always the BEST of everything. Every time I go to Trader Joes, I think why on earth do I ever shop anywhere else.

I wish I lived within walking distance. I really like Capitol Hill. This is the first time I have ever been in this neighborhood. It's very nice. Definitely a walking neighborhood. I know everything is expensive in this area though so it is unlikely I could afford to live close to Trader Joes in Capitol Hill. I wish. I wish. I wish.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Zumba Kids

Yesterday in Kent, Washington at the Grand Central Fit Club at 124 N. Central Avenue, I went through instructor training for Zumba Kids. Kass Martin from Utah was the ZES (Zumba Educational Specialist) who held the training from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It was dancing and learning and having fun and pretending to be 7 years old, and enjoying the experience.

Kass Martin is such a nice person. I admire her. She's an awesome and gifted dancer. She understands people and wants kids and instructors to win. I'm impressed with the training. I'm impressed with Kass Martin. I like everything about her. So many instructors in the room were such gifted dancers and I know that kids are going to have a great time in their classes learning to Zumba.

I went through the training with Okiko (Akky) Ogami. We had a great time. She's super nice and has given me the great gift of allowing me to teach a song in her class once in awhile at Fresh Fitness and Dance in Wallingford.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

My granddaughters

This is my son, Benjamin and his two perfect little girls, Anna and Ella.
They are my perfect little granddaughters. I love spending time with them.
Ben is perfect too.


I got to see my granddaughters yesterday afternoon. I had such a wonderful time. Spending time with family is my favorite thing to do and everything else goes out the window when I get to see them. The only thing that almost comes close is teaching Zumba Gold.

I made a cover for my dining room table for my granddaughters so they could have a playhouse.

Anna is four and Ella is two.

Anna is a writer. She spent most of the time working on a new book drawing the illustrations. She dictates the words she wants for each page of her illustrations. Anna is awesome. I love her so much.

One of these days I will buy fabric markers for her to decorate and draw on her playhouse.

Stephen King

I went to my screenwriting class last night at the University of Washington and I was wearing my new shirt that I bought from Café Press, which is the shopping tab on the Stephen King website.

I didn't get to take my coat off because it was very cool in the room. Another time to wear the shirt. I bought two. One says "constant reader" and it is signed by Stephen King. The one I wore last night was the website with a raven perched on one of the letters.

Stephen King started me off with my writing. My daughter, Gretchen bought ON WRITING by Stephen King for me as a gift for Christmas 2000. Every time I read it, I feel I can write anything. It's one of my favorite writing craft books.


SHAG is the senior housing here in Seattle. I visited the newest complex called Interurban on Linden in North Seattle yesterday morning. It's so nice. It's a beautiful complex. There are so many ways to interact with others in common areas. SHAG is affordable housing and income restricted. I qualify.

I loved the apartment I wanted. I viewed four. I could be happy there. I would have to squish down and get rid of more stuff but I could be happy there. What I love most is the peapatch garden area on the roof with great views of the mountains. I would want to garden. They have a fitness center with Precor ellipticals, my favorite and a weight machine. They have a media center where it looks like it would be great fun to watch a movie. They have a pool table. There are plenty of places to find a table to play mah jongg or canasta. I noticed on the bulletin board that they were having a wine and cheese tasting event and a free evening trip to the Seattle Symphony. They have knitting and cooking classes.

The best part is that I would make friends and I wouldn't be alone all the time. Writing is such a solitary activity. It's hard to be alone all the time. I don't get to see family very often and sometimes it just gets hard.

What Interurban doesn't have is a pool or spa but this is an income restricted building so you can't have everything. They also don't have a dance floor but the lady said you can push tables to the side.

I was thinking of all the ways I could be helpful and needed. I went through the master gardening program in Oregon in 1999. I love to cook. I love to knit, quilt, sew, crochet. I'm a new Zumba instructor but there wouldn't be a place for Zumba Gold. Zumba Gold is for seniors and there is also training to teach seniors in wheel chairs. I saw a few wheeling around.

I'm seriously thinking about this choice. This is a fabulous building and so nice. It is close to the Interurban trail.

The rent is close to what I pay now. Right now I live in such a convenient location. I wouldn't have bus 41 but there is a bus that stops right out front of the building.

If my writing or zumba takes off, I doubt I would move and I would want to stay where I am.

It was funny because last night when I was at my class at the University of Washington, we reviewed Toy Story 3 and tears started down my cheeks because I, like the toys, don't feel needed. Yesterday afternoon, I got to see my granddaughters but I don't get to see them very often. I need to be around people and I need friends.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

2013 Seattle Marathon--Ben Haber comes in 10th


I'm so proud of him. I wanted to be there but I didn't get the message in time. He's always been my Golden Boy. He's one of the best runners in the world. He's an elite distance runner. He came in 6th place at the 2013 Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon. He's always awesome. I'm so proud of him. He's my hero.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Akiko Ogami, Zumba Instructor

Akiko Ogami is a gifted and awesome Zumba instructor and teaches at Fresh Fit and Dance at 4501 Interlake Avenue North in Seattle in the Green Lake and Wallingford areas between 46th and 45th. This is a wonderful dance studio and you will love to take classes from Akiko.

If you have questions e-mail at freshfitinfo@gmail.com.

Teaching Zumba Gold

Today was a big day in my life. I was invited to co-teach with Akiko Ogami at Fresh Fit and Dance at 4501 Interlake Avenue North in Seattle in the Green Lake and Wallingford area between 46th and 45th. Akiko is an awesome and gifted Zumba instructor plus she is such a nice person and very kind. She's awesome every day.

I had so much fun. I taught one Zumba Gold song and I co-taught about three others with Akiko. I had a wonderful time. This is the first time that I have taught a song as an instructor. This is the first time to get to wear a Zumba instructor shirt. I loved it.

This is a really nice dance studio and everyone needs to get a membership and take classes from Akiko because she is awesome and a great Zumba instructor!

I learned that if you break down the song, just like they tell you to do when you go through training, and if you listen to the song enough and practice enough, you just know what to do when the song changes. This was a big day for me. I had a great time.

I'm going to work hard on getting more songs ready. I've been practicing them for a long time but it was different last night when I knew that I was really going to be teaching a song. Then it was for real. I became real today. Thanks Akiko!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pike Place Market

The fresh seafood is awesome in several shops at Pike Place Market. Huge shrimp the size of your palm, lobster that is about a foot long, king crab legs that are about a foot and a half long. All fresh. All perfect. All waiting for you to buy.

Wouldn't it be absolutely perfect to live downtown and have a great job to afford to buy all this delicious fresh seafood once a week or twice a week, live in a condo with a view facing the water, and enjoy all the culture and the arts of Seattle?!! Maybe I need to go to school to be a programmer.............

Spice Orient Restaurant

Ben, my son, and I enjoy having lunch at Spice Orient Restaurant on 2nd Avenue in downtown Seattle. These photos were taken today at lunch. Ben enjoys beef pho and I enjoy chicken pho with extra vegetables and green tea. It's always delicious, always healthy, always good for you, and the BEST.

Spice Orient Restaurant
1414 2nd Avenue 
Seattle, WA 98101


Zumba with friends at 24 Hour Fitness in Northgate.

Seattle Bagel Bakery

I was on an adventure this afternoon walking around Pike Place Market. I never have the same repeat experience. I always see new things and return to some favorite places. It's always an adventure. It's always fun to explore Pike Place Market.

I stopped when I found the Kettle Boiled Bagels from the Seattle Bagel Bakery in Pike Place Market. I bought a bagel and I also bought a bagel dog, which was delicious but probably 20 Weight Watcher points. It was really good. I'm going to put hummus on the bagel and eat it one half at a time.

I used to make kettle boiled bagels with my husband in the mid-70's. It was fun and they were delicious. It's not easy to do. It's quite an art and you have to keep up with it. We made some really good ones but it takes time. The easy way is to stop in at:

Seattle Bagel Bakery
4445 134th Place South
Tukwila, WA 98168

or stop in at the shop at Pike Place Market. Yum!

Milagros Mexican Folk Art

One of my favorite shops in Pike Place Market is Milagros Mexican Folk Art which features the best of Mexico. This is a really fun shop. Last time I visited, I bought a mola. This is a layered beautifully-stitched applique made in Columbia and the Panama area. I first saw molas when my husband and I went on a cruise through the Panama Canal in the early 90's. I wanted one and I've been wanting one ever since so I bought one at Milagros. I need to frame it and put it on the wall. It's a special memory of the cruise and it is great art that I admire.

So today, I had a fun time talking to Kathrine who is awesome. I wanted a Day of the Dead Christmas ornament.

Everyone needs a Day of the Dead Christmas tree ornament to add flavor to your tree. You can get one by going to Milagros Mexican Folk Art
1409 First Avenue (Between Pike and Union)
Seattle 98101

Or if you can't make it to Seattle, you can still shop by going to:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Seattle Symphony

I enjoyed an afternoon at the Seattle Symphony listening to Verdi's Requiem.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Niel Smith, Zumba Instructor

Niel Smith, Zumba instructor at 24 Hour Fitness is my favorite Zumba instructor and inspired me to take the training to become an instructor. He's awesome and fun. He knows how to create fun. It is truly rare in life to find people who know how to make people happy and to make life more fun.

On Friday, I took two classes taught by Niel. At 9:30 a.m. at 24 Hour Fitness in Northgate, I did an hour of Zumba and then at 11 a.m., I did an hour of Aqua Zumba. Niel took a short video of the Aqua Zumba class that he posted on facebook and I'm in it having a great time.

Beto Perez created Zumba, which is the perfect formula to make people happy, have fun, enjoy the party, and to dance. He's a hero because he has united the world with Zumba. Everyone is included in Zumba. Everyone can enjoy dancing. Zumba is now in 185 countries around the world. I just saw on Facebook that Beto Perez is at a Zumba Convention in Japan. How awesome! Many of my friends at 24 Hour Fitness here in Northgate are from Japan.

I absolutely love Zumba. If I were to choose one thing in life, it MUST be Zumba. Zumba makes me happy. Zumba has changed my life with health and fitness and dance. I love to dance. I love the music of Zumba. I want so much to teach Zumba and be a real part of the Zumba family to help people have the joy of learning to be fit and healthy. Zumba comes first. Zumba is my number one priority because health and fitness must be my number one priority and there is no better way to become healthy and fit.

I'm grateful to Niel for all the fun that he has brought into my life every time I enter the classroom when he is the instructor. He is an entertainer. He's a great instructor and easy to follow. He's my favorite. I'm grateful when he is teaching. If he was teaching two classes every single day of the week, life would be perfect.

If you live in the Seattle area, go to Niel's classes. He's awesome and popular. His classes are crowded. He teaches 15 to 20 classes a week.

If I have the opportunity to be a Zumba instructor, I will never be as awesome as Niel but I am going to try to help people find the joy of Zumba.

Here's Niel on the left. I'm in the middle. A.J. is on the right. We're all Zumba instructors but I'm not teaching yet. I still haven't got off the ground.

Olive Garden

One of my favorite restaurants is Olive Garden. A few days ago I was in Target and overheard the person at the cash register mention to the person ahead of me that she used to work at Olive Garden. When it was time to be waited on by her, I told her how much I love Olive Garden. It has been years since I have been to Olive Garden. I absolutely love the soup and salad. It's always delicious. Always perfect. And the best part is that it is safe for someone who must watch their calories.

So on Friday when I was in Lynnwood, I stopped at Olive Garden on 196th Street that is right off I-5. I'm so glad I did. I had minestrone soup and salad. The soup was delicious and so full of flavor. I had one bowl. I ate all the salad. It was perfect. I had one and a half bread sticks. Their bread sticks are always perfect but I think I need to pass on the bread next time. I need to be careful and lose weight. The food at Olive Garden is always delicious, always perfect. Right now they have a special on 2 for 1 entrees. If you buy one, you can take one home to warm up later. This is a great deal because the food is always perfect at Olive Garden.

I love to hear the music at Olive Garden from the "Rat Pack." Music by Sinatra is my favorite. This adds to the flavor of the experience of eating at Olive Garden to make it perfect.

Go to your nearest Olive Garden and enjoy the menu choices. It's always good, always perfect!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


I feel like I am at a great crossroads in life with many possible choices.
  • Zumba. I want to be a Zumba instructor. I want to find my place. I've even thought about opening up a Zumba Gym and I've been looking at the old K-Mart building on Aurora in North Seattle as a great place where Zumba events could be held and there could be enough classrooms to hold all the different types of Zumba all hours of the day. Plus there would be enough space to have regular gym options plus pools and spas. If I had my own gym, I could teach or co-teach with someone.
  • Getting my MFA and teaching at a college or university. This has always been a dream. To me a university is holy ground where thoughts, ideas, learning, and books thrive. I can't afford to get my MFA but I always want to take classes. I always want to learn and grow to be a better person.
  • Screenwriting. I'm enjoying my screenwriting class at the University of WA. I want to win. I want to have a chance. I'm learning so much and I'm part of a classroom where everyone is brilliant and a great writer, and the instructor, Kim Cunningham is a successful screenwriter, awesome teacher, and brilliant royal smart person.
  • Personal Trainer classes. I'm taking classes with NESTA, ACE, and AFAA to become a group instructor and personal trainer. It's cheaper to learn how to be a trainer than to pay for a couple of years of time with a trainer, which I need to do. I'm learning a lot and I have an abundance of respect for the knowledge of personal trainers. They have to learn so much about the human body and movement and how everything is integrated. I'm taking these classes to help myself and to be a better Zumba instructor.
  • Novel writing. I'm sitting on four novels that I have completed and yes, they need another revision. I love to write new novels and go off on the adventure of story to see where it takes me. Will I ever get anywhere with it? I'm determined to keep trying and to keep learning how to be a better writer. I am always reading a writer's magazine or a writing craft book, along with my other reading.
  • So many possibilities. I can't do everything in life. I have to say sometimes that even though I love gardening or quilting or other pursuits, maybe it is over. My main priority must be health and fitness and writing. If I could be a part time Zumba instructor, novel writer, and teach at a university, my life would be absolutely PERFECT! If I found royal smart, supportive friends, and someone who loves me, it would really move into PERFECT! If I could also take a cruise once in awhile, travel the world, go to the symphony, go to the art museum, go to the ballet, zoo, Broadway plays and live theater, always go to both Zumba conventions every year, etc, then my life would be HEAVEN! I don't want much, do I? ; )

Disabled Neglected???

On the front page of the Seattle Times this morning, Saturday, November 23rd, is the headline: "Feds: State neglected 27 disabled."

First of all, it doesn't sound like they were neglected since their physical needs were met. They were not locked in a basement, deprived of food, and sunlight, as in some horror stories about foster care.

And what is the potential of the disabled to contribute to the world? Aren't the disabled the responsibility of the family who brought them into the world and now expect the state to take over their care?


The gifted and talented are neglected every single day in the United States. It is RARE that the gifted and talented have the opportunity to learn at their rate of potential every hour of the school day. Most often they sit and must do what the group does, which is often far below their potential. Most often the gifted child thrives because of their parents or one person who mentors them. If a gifted child doesn't have this, they are lost and it is tragic for the whole world.

What is tragic is that we lose answers and solutions to problems of the world. We lose new original art and new concepts to save the world. By not nurturing the best and the brightest, they do not bloom or rise to their potential. This is a far greater tragedy!

At a time when budgets are squished already, isn't it time that we place our priorities on what is most important?

It is almost like there is no great priority list of what is most important. Everyone wants to grab what they can for their program. This is no longer acceptable and this must end. It is a great waste of money. It is a great waste of money to pay farmers not to plant crops. There are too many loop holes. Someone needs to put a stop to all this. Maybe lobbyists should be outlawed.

Maybe the parents of the gifted and talent should start suing if their child doesn't have the opportunities they should have in the classroom. Maybe then the great priority list would shift in education.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

ZIN Jam with Samuel Salazar

I spent the afternoon in Kent, Washington at a ZIN Jam Session with Zumba Jammer Samuel Salazar who teaches Zumba choreography all over the world to Zumba instructors. It was an honor to learn from him. He's one of the best of the very best. He is easy to follow, an amazing teacher, and the entire time was pure fun.

We learned the choreography to five songs. We had such a great time. Smiles all around. It's fun to see friends and make new friends.

You can learn from Samuel Salazar too and take a Zumba class because he opened up a brand new beautiful gym in Kent, Washington. Check it out and sign up for classes.

Grand Central Fit Club
124 North Central Avenue suite 103
Kent Washington 98032

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jessica Morrell

I spent the day in Everett attending a one day fiction writing workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. taught by Jessica Morrell from Portland. I learned so much and met many nice people. The workshop was sponsored by Northwest Women Writers. www.northwestwomenwriters.org.

Jessica has written several books published by Writer's Digest Books. I bought three today:
BULLIES, BASTARDS, AND BITCHES: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
BETWEEN THE LINES: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing
CRAFTING NOVELS & SHORT STORIES on page 300 is an article she wrote, "Keep Your Story Moving at the Right Pace."
Each of these books should be in your personal library, if you are a writer or care about learning how to write well.

Jessica Morrell teaches workshops for the Writer's Conference, Willamette Writers. I've wanted to meet her for a long time because she's been interviewed by Writer's Digest Magazine and she has taught writing for years.

I'm so glad I went. It was definitely worth the money and I look forward to reading her books. She knows writing. She knows how to teach it. She knows what works.


I started reading BULLIES, BASTARDS & BITCHES. Her writing is exquisite. Each word carefully chosen. It is a pure pleasure to read even the Preface!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

I rode bus 41 from Northgate to get to the Seattle Symphony at noon to enjoy Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. My ticket was only $29.50 for seat 10, row W, in aisle A. To listen to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra is always perfection, as good as it gets, and my favorite part of Seattle.

I still think that the Seattle Symphony should sell musician cards with details about the background on each card. Each member of the orchestra and especially the illustrious conductor, Ludovic Moriot are the best of Seattle. They are the elite, the gifted, the ones who give so much joy to everyone who comes to Benaroya Hall. I don't matter but they all do. I am humbled and it is such a privilege to get a seat to hear them.

My mother was a piano teacher and I grew up with classical music. I knew the Pastoral Symphony by Beethoven. I have heard it many times and I love it. It was obvious that the Seattle Symphony Orchestra loves it because they played it with such passion. I loved every minute.

It was an extraordinary treat to learn about Pascal Dusapin, and his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. Dusapin was born in 1955 and lives in Paris. I think he is now my favorite composer. He writes such complex, complicated music. I have never heard a composer explore the range of possibilities with sound, tone, and harmony with all the instruments before. He tinkers with sound. He is inventive and went out of bounds with this concerto. I loved it. The Seattle Symphony Orchestra played with passion and I know it was not the easiest piece to play. The violinist, Renaud Capucon was brilliant! He was one with the violin, the music, and the orchestra. I need to buy a CD.

I'm so grateful that I can come to hear the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. I'm so lucky to be able to buy a ticket and sit in one of the seats. This is as close to heaven as it gets.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

I went to the symphony today to hear the story of Tristan and Isolde in three acts by Richard Wagner complete with actors telling the story in the back of the orchestra. Wagner's music is powerful, moody, and melancholy. His music isn't positive and uplifting and a jolly tune on the harpsichord. It is heavy and has influenced many artists, writers, and musicians because of the depth and passion.

The actors told the story of Tristan and Isolde, a passionate love affair that must have been scandalous at the time since even the music was objected to by the prim and proper.

I have to say that I think I like the actors in the back better rather than center stage in front.

I love going to the symphony. It is always pure joy and perfection.

I'm very tempted to sign up for the National Geographic series in the afternoons. I love National Geographic and would love to hear all about the adventures and travels in this series.

I sat in seat W 11, aisle A. I sat next to a woman who is waiting for a kidney transplant, which was sad to hear. She had her first one twenty years ago. I told her that the human body has an amazing capacity to heal itself and about my husband who was told he would need a kidney transplant and had a creatin level of over 22, had dialysis for three months, and then completely recovered with the amazing Dr. Wahba in Corvallis who took care of him.

Waiting for the bus 41 in the tunnel, I talked to a nice lady that I talked to last year about this time who went to the symphony. We again talked about loving to play mah jongg. We both think Rick Steves is terrific and love to travel.


The only power in life that I have is to write and use words to stand up for myself.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Joann Fabrics

So it is done. It is over. I feel sad but it is time to move on. It just didn't work out.

I gave Lori, the manager a letter asking for a 6 month leave of absence to concentrate on my writing. I can't do everything I want to do and my time is getting squished with deadlines for writing, my class at UW, learning Zumba choreo, and classes to be a fitness trainer. I could tell that I didn't have a future at Joanns so I started branching out. I wanted time off but she said no.  She said that I'm trying to leave at a busy time and I'm needed. I told her that I didn't feel needed or valuable. I told her that I have been trying really hard to do my best, work hard, do what I am asked, and to give great customer service. She agreed that I was doing this, but I pointed to my golden scissors on my name tag which I said I had to ask for because customers told me that they had recommended me. What does it mean when I have to ask for it? Besides, most of the time lately I have just been putting stuff away.

What really got me was that Lori said that she knows that not all the young people have the work ethic I do but they are trying to work with them on this. People promoted and management KNOWS they don't possess a great work ethic.

I haven't been treated with respect at work. I'm even bossed around by new people who tell me I should be going here and there. To one I responded, "respect is important too." I get tired of hearing the mean comments and how people treat one another.

There are several people who will rejoice now that I am gone--Vivian, Heather, Christopher, Beth, Vicki, Bethany, and several others. Many don't think that I am capable or good enough to even sweep the floor. I've been passed over for four promotions since I started. I wasn't even considered. This kind of hurts. I know I am 65 and fat but I really try hard. I want to do well. I want a good future. I want to be part of things. I can see all kinds of way to make things more efficient and to help but what is the use of offering anymore ideas when my best isn't good enough or wanted.

I was asked to teach a class for children. I was thrilled and happy to do so. I was told to come in ten minutes early. I came in an hour early and after looking at what needed to be done, I should have come in the day before to get ready. Not all the materials were in the box and there were no directions. I had to scrounge things. I did my best. The kids and parents went away happy. I haven't been asked again. I think I was supposed to fail. I've been tested like this and so many times at Joann's with extreme situations and I think I was supposed to run a long time ago but I didn't want to quit. Now it is done.

It also isn't fun when I haven't been trained how to do something and then when I ask, the one who comes does it so fast that I don't know what happened or how to duplicate it and then I am expected to know it. That isn't training, in my opinion.

There are four new supervisors who have been hired since I started. I don't know anything about them. I think it would been nice to introduce each one and tell a little bit about them in writing. It would have been respectful to the new supervisors and respectful to everyone else so we understand and can appreciate the new supervisors. They are thrown in the mix and expected to lead. I'm not told anything or included so it is really just following whatever I am told by whomever. I think it could be better.

I really think that there should be a check list for the cutting counter for things that should be done so that it is ready for use. For example, there really should be sharpened scissors in each of the holders in the morning. I like Fiscars and we don't even have a Fiscars scissors sharpener in the drawer to use. Some of the scissors should be thrown away.

I was supposed to work this morning. I didn't go in. No one even called. I'm sure they are having a party.

It's okay. It didn't work out. I have loved helping customers. I enjoy hearing about all the creative projects. I love everything that Joann Fabrics sells. I feel sad that I am not going to be part of the fun but it isn't fun when you aren't made to feel a part of things or that you are valued or wanted. I need to move on and find something else. I'm going to miss my discount. Oh, well, it is done.

I look forward to the future and new things. I want a great future. I want people surrounding me who encourage me and want me to be my best. I want to learn and grow and thrive. I want to make more money. I want to be able to offer ideas and be part of the creative process of making things better. I want to be able to make enough money to go to Broadway plays, the symphony, the ballet, and to travel. $9.19 an hour for a few hours a week just doesn't do it.

Epilogue:   I went into Joann Fabrics this morning. I guess I wanted to test the waters plus I needed to buy a bunch of muslin to cover my dining room table to create a fort for my granddaughter complete with windows. So I was waiting by the cutting counter. I had #11 and was waiting. Vicki called out #11. I showed her that I had 11. She said "Oh, I can't wait on you!" in a very snotty tone looking over at Christopher and Heather who laughed. They can find someone else to make fun of and taunt. I'm tired of it. I don't think it is nice. I take a lot and then I start slinging words in my blog.

I wish I could be like that young girl in the jewelry store in the show Bridesmaids who slings words back at Annie. I've never been able to do that. I just take it.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Weight Watchers

I have lost 9.2 pounds so far on Weight Watchers in three weeks since I started. I bought Active Link which gives me a readout on my computer that records my activity during the day. Yesterday was my best day with 14 points earned for activity. I did two hours of Zumba. One hour at 9:30 a.m. at 24 Hour Fitness. Daniel was the instructor. He's always amazing and packs the room. Then at 11 a.m. I did an hour of Aqua Zumba. Niel was the instructor. He always makes his Zumba classes fun and like a party. I had a great time.

I worked at Joann Fabrics from 5 to 9:30 p.m. We have new scanners. They are easy to use and very intuitive. I was told at the beginning that they weren't working. I got mine working just fine. I spent most of the 4 1/2 hours putting back merchandise, as I was told to do. I got paid to exercise and that brought my total for the day up to 14 points.

I look forward to being successful with Weight Watchers. I found a great group here in Northgate at 7:30 a.m. on Friday. This won't conflict with any of my scheduling. The leader is inspiring and the group are very supportive of one another.

I started a new blog on Weight Watchers called ZumbaGoldWendy.

Anything Goes

I went to see the Broadway play, ANYTHING GOES on Thursday, October 31 at 1:30 p.m. My seat was GG 24 and it was $25.80 for the ticket. I had a great time and enjoyed every minute. I sat next to a wonderful lady and enjoyed talking to her before and during intermission. Her and her husband live in Mukilteo.

ANYTHING GOES is set on the S.S. American, a cruise ship in the 1930's with classic songs like "It's De-lovely," "I get a kick out of you," and "Anything Goes." It was delightful, full of great one-liners that had the whole audience laughing. It was fun and a joy to see. My favorite was Fred Applegate who played Moonface Martin. His voice was unparalleled--so strong, clear, and powerful.

I love Broadway plays and look forward to the next one.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rick Steves

Today I was in Edmonds all day. I had a glorious time learning all about traveling in Europe. From 9 to 11 a.m. I took the workshop taught by Rick Steves, European Travel Skills.

After this was Packing Light and Right from 11:30 to 1 p.m. in the Edmonds Center for the Arts. Rick Steves presented most of this workshop and Sarah Murdoch finished to tell women how to pack light and get everything they need for 2 months in one small bag that is less than 16 pounds. Sarah weighs her clothes to pick the best things for her trips as a guide in Europe. I wanted to ask how many tops she had in her suitcase because it looked like a lot. In this one small suitcase, she had a pillow, 4 pairs of shoes, countless tops, and everything she needed to never wear the same outfit twice!

I wish I could be a travel guide but I am probably too old and too fat to be considered but it sure would be fun to see the world and to help others see the world.

I didn't sign up for the workshop on France taught by Steve Smith but I wanted to go so I asked and it was okay. I learned so much about France through the informative lecture and pictures that now I want to visit France to learn more and see all these places like Loire where there are so many castles and palaces, Honfleur, Carcassonne, and Aries. I couldn't stay to the end because I was having problems with my knee from sitting for so many hours. I just couldn't do it any longer. It was only one more half hour. I hated to leave because France is glorious.

I wanted to stay for the workshop about Italy taught by Rick Steves but I couldn't because it was too long of a day just sitting for me. I really wanted to learn about Italy.

I learned that Rick Steves has these free workshops twice a year where anyone can come and learn about traveling in Europe. It's certainly worth the time and effort to come to Edmonds. I would love to live in Edmonds. I am sure drawn to this area.

Rick Steves is masterful at speaking to groups. He would easily be a popular tenured professor at any of the major universities in this country. He's a master teacher because he blends so many disciplines and areas of knowledge and makes it so easy to understand. He has more PBS shows coming up to teach everyone about Israel and the Middle East and France.

I picked up the catalog of guided tours of Europe offered through Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door. When you sign up for one of these small group tours, you learn so much local history, have local guides, time is saved not standing in long lines to popular spots, and you see the best of Europe efficiently. It is well worth the money and there are a variety of tours available. It sounds like you bring home life time friends when you go on one of these tours too.

Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door
130 4th Avenue North
Edmonds, Washington 98020

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cascade Carvers

Check out www.cascadecarvers.com. 
This is an amazing and website for the creative person
who loves to carve with wood.

It looks like there was a fun event in Ellensburg, WA
with the Northwest Carving Academy last July.

I met Linda Lunde at the Write on the Sound
writer's conference in Edmonds, WA.
She's such a nice person!
This is her husband's business that she shares.

Cascade Carvers Supply 1-800-828--5576.

Linda Lunde is the kind of person you wish was
a next door neighbor. I'm sure her husband is
fantastic and super nice too!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor is coming to Seattle on April 1, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. He will be at the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium. I don't know where this is but I am going to find out and I'm buying a ticket.

I love Garrison Keillor. I have eight of his books. I have loved listening to him for years on OPB. I love his charming stories about Swedes from Minnesota since I am 1/2 Swedish and my father was born in Minnesota and my grandparents on my fathers side were born in Sweden. Yes. I love Garrison Keillor and I'm buying a ticket.

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

I went to the Seattle Symphony on Friday. I had a great time. The Symphony played the 29th Symphony by Mozart. Of course, it was flawless as always. It's always like being in heaven sitting in one of the chairs listening to them. It is my indulgence and pleasure to listen.

The Seattle Symphony Orchestra has a new conductor. Stilian Kirov served as an Associate Conductor in Memphis and graduated from Julliard, the BEST of the BEST! He was so charming. I really like him. He is the cheerleader for the orchestra and encourages and hugs those on stage for being amazing. He was amazing. We are lucky in Seattle to have Stilian Kirov as the new Associate Conductor. I look forward to more. He's brilliant and is certainly a gifted conductor.

ZIN JAM at Magnuson Athletic Club

I spent the afternoon at Magnuson Athletic Club for a special Zumba event. I signed up for a ZIN JAM taught by Meli Mastroeni-Kirkwood. The time was from 12:30 to 4 p.m. I had a great time and learned a lot. I was surrounded by amazing and gifted dancers.

Meli Mastroeni-Kirkwood is a ZIN JAMMER, which means that she has been chosen by Zumba to create choreography for Zumba instructors. She's absolutely amazing and such a gifted dancer. It is an honor to be a ZIN JAMMER and it was an honor to take a class from Meli and to learn from her. She taught choreography for five songs and we all danced and  became the instructor to teach the songs.

Magnuson Athletic Club is a gorgeous club--so big and so beautiful right near the water.

What was really amazing to me is that Meli lives in Arroyo Grande. I used to live in Arroyo Grande from 1978 to 1982. I loved it there. I didn't want to leave. Arroyo Grande has absolutely perfect weather. It is always around 65 to 70 year around with a breeze since it is on the Central California coast. I was very happy living there. I homeschooled my five children in Arroyo Grande.

It was an honor to meet Meli. She's awesome!

Weight Watchers

I had great success with Weight Watchers this last Wednesday since I lost 5.8#. It's working so far and it was a great decision to sign up again. The meetings are inspirational, encouraging, plus packed full of great information to get you through the week. So many nice people too!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Weight Watchers

I went back to Weight Watchers and yesterday was my first day. I am already doing better because I feel like I am being held accountable and I can't cheat by eating the extra or saying that this little Halloween candy bar is so small and won't hurt. I am serious because I have to be serious in order to meet all the goals I want to meet. I need to lose weight in order to be a great Zumba instructor. I need to lose weight in order to be taken seriously. I need to lose weight because some people just plain do not like fat people and won't even consider you in your world, if you are fat.

I feel like this time I can do it and I will be successful. Maybe I am just plain ready.

I started a Weight Watchers blog. I know I will have fun with that.

I bought ActiveLink and I think this is going to help to record all I do in a day to move. I'm interested to see how it works. I set it up yesterday.

I bought the monthly pass and I went to my first meeting at Wednesday noon in Northgate. So many nice people in the meeting. Sometimes I work part time at Joann Fabrics so I won't be able to attend but I will when I am able. I am happy that I went back. I'm excited to begin.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Nina Amir

At Write on the Sound, the writer's conference at Edmonds, Washington, I learned so much from workshop presenter, Nina Amir. She's published dozens of books, one is a Writer's Digest book on writing craft, HOW TO BLOG A BOOK in 2012. Her workshop, HOW TO WRITE A SHORT BOOK FAST, was full of great tips on how to market yourself as a writer and how to turn your blog writing into a book. I learned more about the process of finding new ways to use your novel writing to promote yourself as a writer. One great example she shared was about how a writer who writes cozy mysteries about knitting could start writing nonfiction short books about knitting tips, speak to groups, and then sell all her books.
Nina Amir is amazing and a great speaker who has great business tips on expanding your career as a writer to start making more money.

Rick Steves

The writer's conference, Write on the Sound in Edmonds, Washington was a great writing event on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this last weekend. The Edmonds Arts Commission did an outstanding job of orchestrating the entire conference and making it appear effortless as it went forward without any flaws. All needs were taken care of and anticipated. There was so much talent and high profile names at the conference as presenters--best selling authors, book and magazine editors with decades of experience from all across the country. I was in great conflict because I wanted to attend all the workshops and didn't want to make the hard choices.

When I saw the name Rick Steves, the travel writer, as a presenter, I wanted to attend. I've been watching Rick Steves on PBS for years. I admire him. He's the best at travel writing and sets the standard for excellence.

I sat in awe as Rick Steves shared tips on travel writing and talked about the importance of telling the truth and providing practical information that will help travelers save time. He collects stories about people and feels strongly that people "carbonate your experience." Asking questions, connecting with locals, having a local travel guide are essential to the process of understanding, coupled with a background knowledge of historical and political context as you view what is before you. I would love to work for Rick Steves to learn and grow and have the adventure of traveling all over Europe. He works 12 hour days. He doesn't enjoy the nightlife. He doesn't have time because in the evening, he is transcribing his notes for the day into his computer. His life is dedicated to helping and serving those who travel and to bring understanding among all people. He's great at breaking down barriers and helping people see connections where no one thought it was possible. He deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his work that heals and brings understanding in the world. Rick Steves is a great writer and professional speaker. I sat mesmerized and could have listened for hours plus he's so handsome and charming. I'm the proud owner of one of his books that I bought at the conference, a signed copy of Postcards from Europe. He was gracious and kind to agree to a photo.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Write on the Sound

I went to the writer's conference in Edmonds, Washington this weekend. Write on the Sound sponsored by the Edmonds Arts Commission was outstanding. Each presenter was amazing. I learned so much and am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend. I only wish I could have heard all the speakers and attended all the workshops during the weekend.

The organizers of this writer's conference did an outstanding job. Everyone was taken care of and they did a great job of anticipating needs of those who attended the conference. So much thought and planning went into this event. It was flawless and they should be congratulated! I want to attend next year and I look forward to it with great eagerness to learn and grow.

These are the workshops I attended:
On Saturday I went to:
Today I went to:

I wish I could have attended all the workshops.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Thai Cottage

I had dinner at Thai Cottage at 417 Main Street in Edmonds this evening. I selected the Cottage Garden on the menu which is stir fried mixed vegetables, including broccoli, carrots, cabbage, onions, baby corn, mushrooms, garlic, and onion sauce with steamed rice, water, and green tea. It was perfect! It couldn't have been nicer. It was delicious. What a great restaurant!

There is a Mexican Restaurant next door which looks very inviting and like it has amazing food too. It looks like Edmonds is full of great restaurants and interesting shops.

Edmonds and Edmonds Library

I love Edmonds. This is the first time I have ever been there. The words that comes to mind are precious and rare. There's something so special about Edmonds. Yes, it's being close to the ocean and being able to see the magnificent views. It's the shops that look so inviting. It's the Edmonds Library with the perfect librarian who is one of the nicest people in the world and who represents libraries and books in the best way possible. I liked her immediately.

I was sitting in the second row on the end listening to Robert Dugoni, an attorney and writer of legal thrillers. Right there I am sold because I love legal thrillers and the law.

I bought four paperback books and I talked to Robert Dugoni for a couple of minutes. I could have listened to him for hours with his stories about growing up in a family of 10, about his mother, about being an attorney, about writing, about the law, about his big EPA case that he wrote about. He's so interesting so I know I will love reading his books. He's a great speaker. He charmed everyone in the room. You can tell he is a good person.

What I like best about Robert Dugoni is that he is a champion, a hero, and someone who believes in justice and fighting to help people and do what is right. He is the best of what an attorney should be.

He mentioned Christopher Vogler, another writing hero. I've gone to a writing workshop where Christopher Vogler spoke on the Oregon Coast. He's awesome. He wrote the Writer's Journey and I have two copies both signed by Christopher Vogler. I need to read his book again.

At the Edmonds Library, it sounds like they have a perfect writing group on Mondays and a National Novel Writing Month group beginning in November.

Write on the Sound

I'm so excited to be attending the writer's conference in Edmonds, WA today. This is the first writing conference I have attended. It's called "Write on the Sound." It's going to be great. I will learn and grow and talk to interesting people who are so talented and gifted in writing.

I signed up weeks ago. I kept changing my mind about one workshop because it's so hard to make a choice. There are so many great people coming to speak. I want to go to everything and listen to everyone, but I can't be everywhere. It's really hard. They give you four choices per session but every choice is great.

I'm going to have a great time this weekend. I haven't been to Edmonds before so I will enjoy looking around. I have thought it would be nice to live in Edmonds.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Health Care

Zumba Party

I was invited to the home of Phillis Wang on Monday along with others who love Zumba and go to 24 Hour Fitness in Northgate. We had a wonderful afternoon. On the left in the photo above is Phillis in her beautiful Shoreline home. She's great at entertaining and making people feel comfortable. She's a talented artist. I'm in the middle and on the right is Camille Neilsen, one of the loved Zumba instructors at 24 Hour Fitness.

At the table starting at the left is Vamila next to me. In the middle is Camille followed by Chiya on the right next to Akiko, another loved Zumba instructor with her daughter a future Zumba instructor. Phyllis, Vamila, and Chiya should be instructors because they are amazing talented dancers. Great food and great conversation. Even some practice Zumba.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013


Vimeo is a creative website that encourages film and video by anyone who wants to learn and grow and create. I'm impressed with this website and first discovered it a little over a year ago. I haven't spent a lot of time on the website but I see that those who participate and share their films have something very special by being connected to Vimeo and all that this website offers.


I watched a National Geographic special on Netflix this morning--Stress: Portrait of a Killer. It was really good and everyone should watch it. This documents the work of neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University who has studied baboons in the wild for decades. The documentary challenges us with the question whether civilized man can learn to thrive without stress like the baboon. Watch it to learn more.

Zumba Gold

I wish I could take Zumba Gold classes every day at 24 Hour Fitness in Northgate. I wish I could take Zumba Toning classes three times a week at 24 Hour Fitness in Northgate. I wish I could take Zumba Gold Toning classes at 24 Hour Fitness every other day in Northgate too. These are the classes I want to be teaching every day. These are the classes where I belong. This is what I need to be doing. I'm 65 and I weigh 243 so I can't be doing all the high energy jumping around that everyone else is doing. I can't always keep up with all the young people and the high intensity Zumba instructors who are doing all the jumping and moving so fast. I enjoy the slower, easier version of Zumba Gold. It is my speed.

I need Zumba Gold but I need to also be surrounded by people who also loves Zumba. 24 Hour Fitness in Northgate doesn't have Zumba Gold classes. They don't have Zumba Toning classes, which is also slower. They don't have Zumba Gold Toning classes. In my training as a Zumba Toning instructor I have learned that vertical abs exercises with Zumba are more effective than doing sit-ups on the ground and it is sure a lot more fun.

I'm working hard to learn my dance choreography as a new Zumba Gold instructor. I really wish I had someone to co-teach Zumba Gold with until I gain the confidence to go solo as an instructor. I think team teaching works great because it gives the students more people to follow. Then all the attention wouldn't all be on me. I want to be up in front. I want to help people. I want to show them that exercise and fitness is important. I want to show them that everyone is healthier with movement and there is nothing as much fun as Zumba. Zumba has brought so much happiness in my life. I hope I have a chance at my dream. I really want to teach Zumba Gold. I want to be "real." I want to help people. I already bought Zumba Gold instructor shirts from Zumba. I also bought Zumba Toning shirts too. I ordered business cards. I set up my Zumba website but I need to add more. http://wendyhaber3.zumba.com

I love Zumba. Beto Perez, the creator of Zumba is one of my heroes. I will always admire him and appreciate all that has been added to my life with Zumba. Zumba is fun. Zumba is making life happier and bringing joy to millions. Even though life outside of the Zumba classroom isn't perfect, within the Zumba classroom, it is awesome. It is pure joy and happiness. It is movement and fun. When you are active with Zumba, you are healthier and fit.

I'm going to practice my Zumba Gold choreography today. I'm going to keep working at it hoping that someday, I will have a chance to be a Zumba Gold instructor and be able to help people. I want to help people who are overweight like me to keep moving and to make it fun. I want to help boomers to become zoomers and enjoy all the fun of Zumba but in the safe, easier, slower format of Zumba Gold.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

red turtlenecks

I bought a bunch of red turtlenecks at Fashion Bug in Corvallis, OR about six years ago when they were going out of business. It was a mega shopping event to find so many wonderful clothes at the end of the sale for only $2 so I loaded up and bought a lot. I had several, probably 10-15 red turtlenecks hanging in my walk in closet in my apartment. I wore them all the time last year. I bought several tops exactly the same because if I wrecked a couple, it wouldn't matter. So where are they now? I have a bunch of orange ones. I bought the orange ones to sell because I had the idea that I could sell them to students at OSU and make a profit. I thought I could sell them for $5 or $10 and it would still be a great bargain but I would make a profit.

I look around my apartment and I keep finding stuff missing. Wish I had an army of detectives. Wish I was married to a good Mensa Jewish attorney who was retired, loves to travel and likes to dance and likes to laugh.


I was up in Everett this afternoon because I checked out a very nice apartment in Mukilteo. Since I was going up to Everett, I thought I would bring along my checkbook for BECU to close my account. I had been told several times by multiple sources that I needed to go to Everett to close my account when I talked to people on the phone, in the Northgate Branch and in Lake City. I didn't think there was a rush since I had my card and checkbook locked up and wasn't using it.

I had no idea what I was going to find. I'm very surprised, shocked, and disappointed.

Well, let's start out at the beginning. I've been auditioning banks since I wanted to find a bank that I could count on and trust to give me good service and do what they said they would do. I wasn't asking for the moon. I just wanted what I think every consumer wants. I opened up an account with BECU because I like Boeing. I love Sid the Science Kid, which BECU sponsors. I thought BECU represents intelligence that I could count on. The Seattle Times highly recommended BECU at the time I started my account. My son recommended them too, although he didn't have personal experience. So I opened up an account when the Northgate Branch opened nearby. I didn't like it that that it is mainly an ATM bank. I'm not an online bank person. I told them that and that I wanted paper statements in the mail. I made that clear. I didn't apply for any kind of credit. I didn't ask for a car loan for anything requiring credit. I just wanted to check them out and see how it went. They gave me a credit card. I haven't even activated it to this day. I didn't use it once.

Well, it didn't go so well today. I haven't used my checkbook or debit card since July of 2012. No one has access to them since I have it all locked away so I thought everything was fine. I thought everything was dormant and it wasn't a rush to close my account. Boy, was I wrong. I was thinking that I should have stayed home but if I had stayed home, I still would be in the dark about what was happening. I didn't know all this was going on.

I found out that all this time my account was charged by Vimeo every month even though I had contacted Vimeo last year canceling my account. I opened up an account with Vimeo because I auditioned with Biggest Loser, the television show since I have weight to lose. I cancelled my account by calling, e-mailing, and writing a letter. I had no reason to use the account anymore. I haven't used it since. I thought it was done. All this time Vimeo has been charging my account with BECU every month. BECU has not bothered to contact me to tell me about the non-sufficient funds charges. I haven't been getting paper statements. No phone call. So I walked into a bill to close out my account of over $320 when I thought I didn't owe anything and they were supposed to give me money. I had $167. in my account. On top of this they were charging a line of credit on my account with charges in addition to the other ones and negatively reporting me to the credit reporting agency. Discover didn't tell me even though they are monitoring my account. I had no idea this was all going on. No one told me.

Yes, I have a lot to learn. My husband of over 39 years used to take care of all this. He passed away two years ago. I need to do better but I expected better from BECU. When I said that I wanted paper statements and didn't do online banking, I expected that they would have contacted me. The branch manager, Suzanne told me more than once at the conclusion of all this that I was expecting too much and I should go to another bank. She said that BECU had acted appropriately.

Shouldn't NSF alerts be brought to the attention of a branch manager and shouldn't someone check it out? What if it were an elderly person who was ill? What if someone passed away? Shouldn't BECU care? Why doesn't BECU care? I certainly don't feel cared about. It turned out worse than I even thought.

I believed in BECU and I believed in Boeing. Years ago I submitted my invention to professors at OSU to work with Boeing. I tried to get small passive exercise machines put under seats in jets, especially for long distance travel to prevent blood clots in the legs. No one helped me. I think it is a great idea since it is hard for people to sit on a 16 hour flight without exercising their legs.

I had gone to BECU a few months ago asking for a mortgage and I was disappointed that they wouldn't help me. I had walked away from my home because I couldn't get help I needed and didn't want to stay on acreage after my husband passed away. I was told to walk away by two mortgage brokers.

Not all people representing a business are professional. Sometimes people represent themselves when they are at work and they gossip and they don't always represent the business. When information that only BECU knew during the loan process got around, I shook my head in disappointment and still do.

So you ask, why hadn't I gone up to Everett to close my account. It's kind of a long way up there. It seemed longer than it really is. I hadn't been to Everett until today. It's a nice area and I really like Mukilteo. I'm trying to find a nice apartment at a lower price that I can afford.

I always pay my bills on time. I pay them every month. I care about my credit. I want to be able to buy a home or a condo. I care about doing the right thing. I'm a responsible person.

Yes, I should have closed out my account a long time ago. I guess I still wanted to believe that BECU was part of the good guy team even though I had been disappointed.

I talked to Chris and poured my heart out about all that has happened. He was nice to me. His supervisor, Sue was disappointing. She was severe and harsh and certainly didn't show that she cared. Tears were coming down my cheeks. Sue was glaring and leaning forward and I was thinking she belongs on Wall Street and she must be a Republican and I was wishing Les was taking care of all this. I saw her laughing with others in the back and they were looking my way. I wonder if the CEO of BECU saw a video of how they reacted to me, if it is the way BECU wants to be represented?

Who was the hero in all this? My son, Daniel. I called him on my cell phone. It went straight to voice mail and he called me back. Daniel cares about me. He's my CFO. He answers the phone even though he works day and night. He calls me a couple of times a week. He talked to Chris and to Suzanne on the phone. He was in my corner. He wants me to bank with Ally Bank, the online bank. Maybe I need to do this because then he could monitor the account too and I could be fixed up with the other budgeting program he uses and talks about that shows you graphs and charts of where your money is being spent.

So how is it left? They backed off NSF charges. They charged me for the charges I didn't know anything about regarding a credit line. It was actually in their best interest not to tell me about the NSF charges since they could charge this credit line to make even more money. Suzanne refuses to write a letter to right the wrong of trying to destroy my credit. She says everyone acted appropriately. She won't fix any of it even though she has the power to do so since she is the manager.

I didn't close my account because I want them to start the process with Vimeo to challenge it. I hear back from them tomorrow.

Umpqua Bank sent me flowers when they heard that my husband died. Umpqua Bank gives great coffee when you walk in the door and give you a really great cookie, the kind you give to someone who is family and that you care about. Umpqua Bank lets you sit down and read the Wall Street Journal. When I told this to the manager, she said that I should go to Umpqua Bank again. Umpqua Bank hasn't been charging me every month. They send me a statement in the mail every month. They are nice when I walk through the door.

Chase Bank helps me with any charges that need disputing. They are there to help in the process. Chase wouldn't have treated me this way. BECU says this is on me and my responsibility to get this taken care of.

I have also liked West Coast Bank, which is now Columbia Bank. I have had an account with them since high school, which was Commercial Bank in Salem, Oregon. I found through the years that I could trust them.

The Branch Manager at BECU in Everett said that I need to stay with these banks. I guess I have expected too much from BECU.

So what happened? What is the final outcome?
On October 2nd in the afternoon I received a phone call from the Branch Manager, Suzanne saying that my account would be closed and that the charges would be written off. She said I would receive an e-mail when I said twice that I wanted to receive notice in the mail or I would need to drive up to the bank to completely close out my account. I said that I have been consistent in wanting statements and notifications through the mail. She finally agreed to send me a statement in the mail saying that I have a zero balance and that my account was closed. Hopefully I will receive it in the mail or I will need to drive up again to Everett to the BECU to close my account. The manager again said that they would not deal with Vimeo and that was my responsibility. I closed my Vimeo account and contacted them again as I had a year ago so hopefully this is resolved. It is a big lesson to me to be watchful and vigilant and not assume everything is okay until I check everything out.

I must say that I thought I had left it last year with Vimeo as a free account. I think that Vimeo is a very creative website for anyone who creates film and video. I haven't spent a lot of time on the website but I think it is an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in creating film and video to be connected with this website.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Affordable Health Care

Republicans say that Americans do not want affordable health care and so they are doing everything they can to block the affordable health care that President Obama has tried to see implemented. Republicans do not want affordable health care because it is not in the best interest of big business and the wealthy. They do not want to spend money on health care because it would tap into their profits. It doesn't matter about the people who work for them that put the money in their pockets. All that matters is making sure they keep the high profits coming. It doesn't matter about real people who don't have enough money to put food on the table or have enough money for the health care they need.

When are ordinary citizens going to see that the best interests of the wealthy are not the same as their own? When are ordinary citizens going to stop voting for Republicans who only care about the interests of the wealthy?

Friday, September 27, 2013

HT Market

I enjoy shopping at HT Market on Aurora in North Seattle. I went there yesterday. I was so happy to see that they were selling persimmons. I wait all year for this season. I love them. I didn't know anything about them until a few years ago. They are the most popular fruit in the world. They are mild and delicious. I also bought papaya, dragon fruit, cactus pear, bitter melon, and more.

Global Warming and Climate Change

A study out of Stockholm by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced this morning that at least 95% of global warming is caused by human activities and that the resulting devastation will last for centuries. Already the health of the ocean and all water is threatened. Already animal and plant species all over the world have been eliminated or severely threatened. Weather has drastically changed and will continue.

It is urgent for our planet that big oil and all other major polluting giants are stopped.

It is urgent that all blocking legislation to solar power is eliminated.

It is urgent that public transportation becomes the priority and cars are parked in lots at the boundaries of every city. Some city streets should be used only by mass transportation and some city streets should be used only by runners, bikes, roller skates, roller blades, and walkers.

Do you want a better world for future generations? Then you need to be serious about changing public policy in the direction that will protect everyone's future.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

student driver

I saw a sign in the back window of the car in front of me while I was waiting at a stop light on Northgate Way that said student driver with nervous parent or something like that. I had to smile. I thought it was clever and cute. They must have made it on their computer and printed it out. It was written in bold black letters and I thought it was a great idea.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

$15 an hour minimum wage

I applaud Seattle for trying to push forward raising the minimum wage to $15. I've heard that in the SeaTac area, the minimum wage is or will be $15 an hour and there is a movement to increase the area where the minimum wage will be raised. I think that is great. People need livable wages.

"Cars losing grip on Seattle"

On the front page of the Seattle Times this morning was the headline, "cars losing grip on Seattle." To that I say, Cool! There are too many cars. Too many people are driving when they should be walking or running or biking or riding a bus. Public transportation should be the priority and so should be building safe trails away from traffic for walking, running, and riding bikes. I think it would be great if cars had to be parked on the perimeter of the city and everyone had to walk or bike or run or ride public transportation to get where they want to go. There would be fewer tragic accidents with pedestrians and bikes. It would contribute to the health of our planet, people in Seattle would be healthier and it would be a great example to cities around the world.

I love Seattle and I think it is great that Seattle is a city where on the front page of one of the best newspapers in the world there is a headline that says, "cars losing grip on Seattle."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Writer

I found the November 2013 issue of THE WRITER in my mailbox yesterday. I cherish writing magazines and I don't get rid of them. I have subscribed to THE WRITER and WRITERS DIGEST for years. Each one has nuggets of knowledge about writing craft shared by famous writers. It's rare to have a moment alone with the likes of these authors but you get to learn from them in THE WRITER.

The first article I read was "Cave Art" by Robert G. Pushkar. This is a great article and I enjoyed reading it. It's all about the writing process of Andre Dubus III. Andre writes in a "writing cave," a tiny room like a walk-in closet that is hidden away from the rest of his house. He writes using Ticonderoga pencils in composition books. His basic framework is a beginning, middle, and end. He allows characters to develop and surprise him. He doesn't share his work with anyone. He doesn't believe in writing groups.

"Dubus never shares a work in progress with anyone: 'No one. Ever.' It's a deeply rooted superstition he has always had. 'If somebody sees it before it's done, he will see its flaws, point out what could be better, point out 'well, that's been done before by so-and-so. It's needlessly discouraging' he says. 'I'm afraid of talk about what I'm working on."

"...Dubus frowns on writers' groups, believing they lead members astray from the work at hand. His father told him that a novelist is like a whale submerged in the ocean. You're down there alone, and you're supposed to be down there alone."

Every time I share my work or try a writer's group, I find out that my writing slows to a halt. I see everyone gifted and talented around me. I start to doubt my ability to put down a word worth writing. It's hard to be a writer because you're alone. I love talking to people and being around people but writing for me needs to be a solitary activity. I enjoy helping others and offering suggestions but I don't like to slash and cut someone else's writing. I don't participate in the process of some writing groups. I will only say what is good and what I appreciate about writing. Writers are sensitive and need to be encouraged. Life is hard enough as a writer. Writers are extremely self critical. If they read this and that and continue writing, they will learn.