Zumba: Before the Sweat Dries

“C.J., you’ve got to do it,” my friends say.

Zumba.  I don’t even bother to google what it actually is.  They all love it.  I even like the word zumba –it sound exotic and playful and certainly something I would like.

First there are scheduling problems.  Then there is the tweaked knee from belly dancing.  No time.  No white space on my calendar to add another activity.

Yesterday Beth said, “Come to Free Friday”.  I said okay.  And canceled what I usually do in that time slot.  Why not.  Try something new.

Patty is the teacher and we meet in front of the long mirror on the dance floor.  I have no time to observe my fumbling feet because my eyes are riveted on her grace and energy.  The music is loud and diverse and wonderful.  I’m laughing at myself and loving the dance and trying to stay aware of the left knee.  My friends know what they are doing but I don’t watch them either, just notice they go in the right direction all the time.

The sun blares through the windows, bounces off the polished wooden floors.  Patty gives excellent instructions and I think I’m following along.  Then a weird thing happens.  I get an ocular migraine, this pixilation of the left eye.  I have no time to pay attention to it and my feet.  These are random occurrences usually associated with light.  The effect will last from twenty minutes to over an hour.  It is gone before the class ends.

I love this class though I still can’t tell you what it really is.  A combination of dance styles and music and a good sweat!  I must figure out how to do this, to make room in my schedule.   The aerobic opportunity is full of laughter.  How good can it get?  Very good.

What did you try new today?


Last night I read at Village Books Open Mic night. Laurel Lee sums up the evening in this blog!

Dear Writers

Dear Writers,

We got mobbed by the geezer gang at open mic! Here’s who was there and what they read:

Her astrologer determined that CJ Prince would write about sex and death, so no surprise that she launched the night with pieces titled “One Night Stand,” “Hot,” and “Vanity.” After we broke for cold showers, Carol Hunter resumed with a very moving piece on the fallout of the drug war in Mexico. Dianne Meyer shared a beautiful and humorous tribute to a writing friend, “Ethel, When Last Seen.” Vince Laudi offered two protest pieces—”The Gun Lobbyist” and “Our God is Better than Your God”—along with “Coal Train,” a spoken song in search of a melody. Janet Oakley beautifully read “Technicolor Dreams,” published in the anthology A Cup of Comfort for Women.

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When the Water Spirits Call

ImageWater Spirits Sing at Whatcom Falls

There is only one white day on my June calendar.  One open day.  I’d decided it was time to start Zumba.  What is white for anyway?  Space to engage.  And I want to try this class.  However, in the middle of the night my left knee burns me awake.  In the dark I rummage for Traumeel, massage it, and have a chat with my knee.  I sleep past the Zumba hour. 

But in those awake moments of turning and settling pillows, I hear the water spirits call.  Much louder than when I thank them in the shower every morning.  Yes, I will start Zumba some other day but I can walk around the lake and the dogs and I will celebrate the longest day of the year.

ImageBeamer and Zee on the trail

However, the voice was louder than the smooth ripples of the lake and the squawk of ducks.  Much louder.  I put the dog blanket in the back seat, check my supply of plastic clean up bags and slosh on sunscreen.

The dogs are twirling around like they heard the water spirits too.  I have one leash with two attachments.  I pick up Zee, the four pounder, who simply cannot manage a jump up to the back seat.  Beamer, at almost seven pounds has no problem bounding up.  I settle them in, looping the leash to the seat belt.

The ride is longer to Whatcom Falls than to the lake and they ride patiently.  (Note:  this does not always occur.  Frequently there is vomiting.  Another story.)

We park in the shade and walk past the stone wall, stopping every few seconds while their noses inspect endless information that I am happy not to acknowledge.  A group of tourists from L.A. takes their picture.  We are all happy. 

The Falls roar approval at my arrival.  Some primordial contentment fills me.  I have walked this path in other lives, been in the presence of such force before.  It never ceases to fill me. 

Young people in swimming trunks and cut offs scurry along the paths to the swimming hole.  Of course there is no swimming here but it is the ultimate delight to jump from the cliffs into the cool waters downstream from the falls.  Signs are posted everywhere.  These waters are unattended.  There is joy tempered by caution as a jumper hesitates and the jumps or dives.  I send them all blessings for their bravery and celebration on this fine day.


An off leash monster tears in our direction barking like a wild hound.  There is no time to scoop my dogs up.  I take a step forward, push my hand out in a stop gesture and in my sternest voice command “Leave it.”  Miracle.  The dog stops.  The owners appear.  We hurry on and they go in another direction.  Later we happen on them again.  The dog is not a monster but a beautiful American bull dog/Boxer mix.  I manage this information over the furious barking of said dog and the outraged yips from my two aggressors who will just not have this dog in their territory.

I check my cell.  I forgot to activate the Cardio Trainer.  Next time.


As we exit the park, three Papillons come around the corner.  Five wild beasts protesting intruders.  “They all think they’re Rotweilers” one of the women say.  Ah, someone familiar with the breed.


When Do You Write?

If I left it to whim–and I sometimes do–there would be long dry spells.  And sometimes there are.  I write when the Muse bonks me on the head.  She tells me to pay attention.  She insists that I grab a pencil, a pen a stick to imprint the earth or sand.  She doesn’t command me to write.  She puts words at the end of the pen.  I watch to see what they say.  Sometimes I am delighted, other times, dismayed.

When I was a kid, writing was a school activity plus homework.  I wrote my first novel in sixth grade.  Really.  How presumptuous.  I’d win at mumbly peg, shoot hard and  straight with a steelie and take all the marbles from the boys for my collection and I’d flop on the bed with Daisy my cat who wasn’t allowed in the house, and I’d write.

In college creativity and writing seem at distant ends of opposing universes.  Just meet the deadline.  I became quite good at that so it was natural to fall into newspaper writing. 

All of those years, whether creativity seemed engaged or not, I wrote as a matter of fact.  Of necessity.  Give me a deadline and I’m on it.  No prob.  No regrets.  In newspaper writing you can’t go back to correct a prepositional phrase.  Of course, if it is a factual error, there is no question about correction.  It will be corrected and so will you.

When I moved to the Northwest, I looked for a newspaper to write a weekly column.  It did not manifest.  And I had a couple of blogs by then anyway.  But a blog only has a self imposed deadline.  Five years ago I started writing with some friends from Tai Chi.  The Muse-icians.  We write every Monday morning at my kitchen table, practice writing. 

Words are like a good meal, they must be served when hot and savored for spice.  It is better than a deadline.

What keeps you writing when the Muse is on vacation?

Remember father….


No one is all good or all bad.  Today is an invitation to call up that sweet memory that will shine and sparkle and clear the mind of all else.

Celebrate Father’s Day by acknowledging your own inner masculine and how you support yourself.

I remember the slant of the sun burning away coastal fog as my father set the tin can on a distant rock, taught me how to hold the 410 cradled into my shoulder and how to sight.  I was a good shot.

This is an excellent commentary on the value of reviews. If you’re a reader, you’re a reviewer.

Author JW Metcalf

I wanted to point out something that many people might not realize. If you ever buy a digital book any Author would appreciate you going back to the page where you bought it and write up a review. It could be one or two sentences. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot. Just a quick note telling what you liked or didn’t like and then click on the star rating you want to give the book.

The star rating and reviews are what moves a book in the Amazon ranking system. The same goes for Nook users as well over at Barnes and Noble.  The higher the ranking the more people will see it/hear about it, the better it will sell. Reviews are an Authors life’s blood. I know a bunch of people (i used to be guilty of this as well) that buy books, tell me it’s good/great/keep…

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