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

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.

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.