So I thought I was having a bit of a crappy weekend…

It kind of started Thursday when my digestive system began to run amuck and I had clients to see, dance practice I wanted to attend and a busy Friday the next day.  But it all flowed okay-ish so on life goes…

The next morning, I had another round of not feeling great, but I don’t have that cold/flu that’s going around, so I figured, buck up buttercup, and get ‘er done.  Saw clients, had my sewing helper over and one final meal of beef that she brought out of the kindness of her heart <sadly, a greater than normal consumption of beef is the suspected culprit in my digestive adventures>

And Friday evening ended on the futon, rumblytumbly, but relaxing as I had 2 more clients due Saturday morning.

I got up early Saturday, feeling worse again, and managed to get some last minute work done, clients met and sent on their way and then I was able to relax and sleep and let my system empty itself out of it’s burdens.

Sunday morning, sleeping in, typing out the Dancer’s News from bed in order to stay there as long as possible and then off to a tea and toast brunch at our Bollywood For Fun Brainstorming Brunch < which went very well!>.

So really not actually a  totally crappy weekend, just an undercurrent of not feeling great throughout.

Final socializing involved a trip to the Hubby’s fave pub to visit with the in-laws before coming home to rest some more – I had had a very busy morning.

Since Hubby had work to do, settled into the bedroom, listening to my audio book du jour – Terry Goodkind’s, Wizard’s First Rule, and after what seemed like only a few minutes, I was already dozy, snoozy and generally half asleep with a little Sprocketdog curled up with me. Ah, peace.

Calmly, Hubby steps into the bedroom, ” Don’t panic, but get ready to go.” and he steps out again. Once the door had opened, I then heard the hallway alarm going off.  Had I fallen asleep, and Hubby gone out, I likely would have been rescued by a lovely Ottawa Fire Fighter, but I’m ok with the turn of events as they happened.

I looked around, unplugged my phone, turned off the audio book and headed to change into outside pants < was wearing pj bottoms, ya know> – I took the “don’t panic” as a good guideline. Pants, socks, dog, coat, laptop, boots, dog onto leash with her coat, Oh crap!

And yes, I made the choice to walk down the hallway to grab the two wedding dresses of clients who are getting married/ heading off to get married within the next week.

True Story: One of the brides was actually happy that her dress was staying for some minor final adjustments as she did not want to leave it at her mom’s – her mom has a fireplace and it would end up with a wood smoke smell… seriously. 

Back to the adventure.

Dresses in a large tote bag, dog on leash, husband with laptops, coat and boots and scarves and off we go.

Hubby left the apartment door unlocked- this is a good idea – fire folk have to go and check every unit, so would you not rather they be able to walk in and do their job without delay or sledgehammer?

Oh, and BTW, the entire time before he changed into his outside pants, Hubby was on the phone with 911, then he hung up as the sirens were blaring. Silly us, we both put our phones down to change and left them in the apartment. Priorities were all good though.

We were leaving the apartment and down to the outside door as we could see smoke coming from our neighbours door in the basement. Hubby had already been knocking on all doors, talking to neighbours and making sure everyone was ok and out.

Anyone who has heard me talk of the “superintendent” in the building knows he’s not really up for the job, and sadly this was another moment of reflecting that.  Everyone in the building was out, except for him, and fortunately, he opened his window which is at ground level and a fire fighter pulled him out.

His comment was that he thought the landlord was there testing the alarm system, until he opened his own door into the hallway and saw the smoke from the other apartment.

He had no shoes, no coat, but the fire fighters popped in when it was safe for them to do so and got him shoes and coat.  His cats were fine, but ere left in the apartment the entire time.

Be prepared people. You just never know.

Meanwhile, I had tossed the very important dresses into my car, moved it back out of the way as much as I could, left the dog in the car too and spoke with the police to help make sure that everyone was accounted for.

Hubby was checking on the neighbours, we got to know them a bit more – but never a good way for this to happen.

Street blocked, multiple emergency vehicles including police, paramedics, fire trucks and on King Edward, an OC Transpo bus was there for us to wait in and keep warm. Ottawa’s emergency services do a great job.  There may be situations where people are injured and sadly die, but based on the quick response we received and the communication and care given – the Red cross and Salvation army were also in play, especially for the couple who cannot go back into their home until that’s cleared.

So, thank you Ottawa services. Thank you neighbours who also came out to see what had happened and offer us a place to stay and anything we needed. Thanks friends on Facebook who checked in after seeing our first post, and again making generous offers. And thanks Mom for emailing :-)

We are fine. We’ll have to deal with the smell in our apartment, but I have to wait to see what the landlord does in the hallways as it just keeps drifting in.  Windows open while they can be, and laundry pile growing for when it feels like we can wash stuff without having to wash it again – hopefully later today< Monday>.

And so ends a sort of crappy weekend, but it could have been very different, so I’m grateful for my Awesome Hubby, and my snuggly doglet. and for all of you.

Special thank you to @OttawaFirePIO and @OttawaPolice for saving the day. @halyma and I are fine.

 

UPDATES:

Monday – the cleaning crew arrived with this:IMG_7112 and told me to run it for 3 days…and it worked.

Tuesday: I’m given the gift of calm – thanks to Laura for her thoughtfulness …IMG_7122

Wednesday: They are back cleaning the hallway. I’m taking a lot of today off, as my Hubby has developed the same symptoms as I had last week so I am hoping he feels better before Friday!

If we can make it out:

1 We hit the Museum of Nature for Nature Nocturne – there will be both Anime < for Him> and Ping Pong < for her> in celebration of the Year of the Goat!

Then on the way home, we hope to pop in on the Fundraiser set up to help out our neighbours who lost their apartment: Help get Kitty a home

 

Back to work – well for some of us!

I completely envy the folks who chose this week to head off to warmer climates for a sojourn. Good call.

– 15C <Canadian> with a windchill of -24C means the snow pants and extra inner layers come out for any walkabout I do today.

But January in Ottawa, what do I expect?Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 6.46.48 AM

And now it’s also time to look ahead to both my week < tis Monday morning pre-7 a.m. after all> plus being the first Monday of January 2015, there is a little symbolism there since I pretty much follow the Gregorian calendar. Thus the “new year” begins.

For me, the new year actually starts in the fall, when classes resume and so this feels more like Second BreakfastSecond breakfast.

But French toast with jelly made from Campbell’s Bay wild plums < thanks Laura and Todd> will make second breakfast do just fine…

( In case you were wondering, Elevensies comes around April)

Annnd…back to work, oh yes.

So classes start in a couple of weeks – depending on enrolment, so of course here is where I poke you to be sure to sign up – take someone’s classes – get dancing!

Or sewing, as yes, I also have sewing classes on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings …

Print Me-SewingClubPromo2015

And I’m already booking custom sewing appointments this week so I hope you will keep me in mind if you have any design needs this coming year – weddings, costumes, anything pretty and fun will always catch my interest!

Happy first week back to work – or first week on holidays depending on your situation!

See you soon!

Little Gurl Balls- sugar and spice…

Sugar and Spice and everything nice...

Sugar and Spice and everything nice…

 

I spent this morning making a batch of my annual truffles, and remembered that I’ll be seeing some non chocolate eating friends…

I decided to try something new:

Basic truffle recipe:

½ cup butter, softened

¼ cup cocoa powder

2 ½ cups icing sugar

1/4 cup coconut milk or dairy cream

1 tsp vanilla

smush all of it together really well, chill it, roll it in cocoa. Oh and you can add booze.

Little Gurl Balls

Skip the cocoa , add a bit more icing sugar to make stiffer.

Use equal parts ginger and cinnamon- or add nutmeg and cloves if you got ‘em- to roll the little balls.

Rolling the balls

nom-kick in the taste buds – nom!

 

 

Time for another Gratitude post…

Where do I start?

Sitting in my comfies < yay a for self -employment>, with a little furry bundle on my chair with me, making ridiculous food choices for breakfast from the leftovers that came home with me from last night’s OCCP #34, I’ve sorted almost everything, written up the credits for the video production and now want to write a heartfelt thank you note to everyone who came out last night.

And – wow- run on sentence much?

<blaming the Ooey-gooey…> don’t ask….

So randomly as the thoughts occur:

Teachers – wow. As usual, the teachers “brought it” with their choreographies, co-ordinating of costuming for the groups, and supporting their students as these people take what they are taught and put it together to show us!

Thank you: Antonina, Marina, Chantal, Farasha, Jalilah, Suhani, Niki, Anna and Safiya, and Deepali.

The Student groups: Months of learning and weeks of practice go into presenting all of the pieces that grace the stage at Ottawa U each OCCP.  The additonal commitment to make it a community event by agreeing to pitch in a donation to help cover the expenses, and then to bring along friends and family to support themselves and share their love of the dance form – I know that the way we do things is an anomaly- this is something I am truly grateful for – thank you all!

It’s a sign that Ottawa has it’s own flavour as a dance community, and I will always  be thankful that we can support each other in this way! And GREAT JOB everyone – especially to my groups, who get put through the wringer to prepare I know!!

Rogues and Pros: The soloists, duets, and professional groups  who “bring it” on their own – be it as students dancing solos for the first time – “I’m no longer a virgin”, is a quote from one of last night’s performers heard in the dressing room after she finished her first solo – to the pros who give their time and energy to share their more advanced skills, giving everyone something to which they can aspire!

Thank you Gilane, Iana, Khalia, Leslie, Lilia, Moonlight Dancers, Karina, Mia, Zhannah, Jehane, Gothic Muses, Chantal, Eurika and my amazing dance mates of Bollywood For Fun.

IMG_6788

Behind the scenes:  Every show, the creative mind of Michele Roy blossoms as she arrives before I even get there – it’s good she has connections at the venue – and she embellishes the basic scenery in gorgeous fabrics and trims. She sets a beautiful space for everyone to shine upon.  Thank you Michele!

Once things get started, Catharine and Eurika have been my right and left hand and brain for the past few years, so they have it down pat. They herd the cats < I found it very amusing to note that yesterday was actually Cat Herding Day>, they introduce each act quickly and keep things rolling along with door prizes, and anything else that needs tweaking as we go.

I literally could not do it without them and with dancing in 4 pieces this show < I NEVER DO THAT> I am so grateful to have been able to leave it all in their capable hands!

Sustenance: Food is a super important < for me> part of the back stage experience  – this is a party, after all! And Safiya started helping out a few years back by volunteering her services to pick up snacks and water for the dancers. It makes my life so much easier to know that someone else is handling it, and they always bring great food!

THANK YOU Safiya and Anna and special mention to Madhumaki/Melissa, who always brings a pan of OoeyGooey – and I always end up with a generous serving to take home afterwards.

Front of house:  As the dancers come to check in and their guests arrive to find their seats, everyone was greeted by a crew of helpful women who acted as runners guiding the new folks in the right direction, as well as checking the performers in, collecting tickets, as well as processing the dvd orders. It is not a one person job, and it takes patience and co-ordination to keep things rolling and not miss anything – this OCCP’s crew was fabulous!

If I miss anyone in this specific thank you, please forgive me – I was running around and may not have seen you in action! Thanks to Farasha and Laksha, Linda, Jehane, Tiana, and during the first set, Safiya stayed out to help guide in any later-comers.

Sponsors:  I love being able to give back – and something tangible is a fun way to do that. I rely on the generosity of the community to offer up little and sometimes bigger items to be given away with random draws of the ticket numbers during the show.  Thank you Jehane/DuniyaStudios, Siddiqah, Deepali, Lisa-Marie, and Eurika

Video: Yes, lucky I am to have a professional in the family. Tom of Darner Media has not only been video taping me dance since my first or second public performance way back in the mid-90’s, he’s been one of the most supportive dance husbands I’ve ever seen. Those of us who have supportive dance husband and partners, even if they cannot be at every single show, we know how lucky we are, and we are grateful every day when they just shake their head ruefully as they pick up sequins off the floor, attend as many dance shows as  they can/ or for those with kids, watch the family/ bring the family when they are needed as we have to head off in a flurry or sparkles and chiffon to dance for another event.

In our case,  he  also provides us with our moving memories of every Ottawa Community Class Party, and does his best to create a dynamic dvd that let’s us share the fun we had with family and friends after the fact!  Thanks Tom.

NOTE: Performers if you missed your chance to order a copy of the dvd, please email Tom directly: info@darnermedia.ca

Photography: Robert of R.S.V.P.hotography  kindly gave his time and energy to join us again last night.  His shots of local cultural events capture the energy of the performers and the feeling of the events, and I know he’s always bouncing around to so many events it was greta that he could come take shots for us last night!

NOTE: Performers, if you DO NOT want your photos displayed on Facebook, please message Robert directly or send me an email and I will forward it to him, otherwise, you’ll find the shots on his Facebook page as soon as he has a chance to process them.

Ivy Ploughman is developing her skills as a photographer and comes out to use the OCCP for practice, and some of the photos she has achieved in the past have been amazing, so I’m also very grateful to have had her in house latest night! It may take a while to see her shots, but when she has them ready, they will be in a private Flickr.com page – and I’ll let folks know here.

UOttawa Crew: Yes, this is their job, and I pay them to do it, but they always go beyond the call of duty in helping us make it a fun night! From helping Michele get the decor set up, working with our dancers special requests for lighting, helping solve music issues,  working with Tom and the photographers, as best they can, to make it a great show, Denis, JP, and Gabrielle are part of the community!

I think I’ve covered it all, with words that barely do it justice.

Thank you.

Happy Ho Ho.

T/H

Getting ready to dance… students and professionals all put their belt on the same way.

Well, sort of – I was trying to come up with a dance related metaphor  for ” putting your pants on one leg at a a time”, and that was the best I could come up with in 10 seconds of thinking…

Onward we go.

In our area, we have an assortment of opportunities available to us to perform, depending on your level, interest in generating dance opportunities < pros- advertising your availability to restaurants and for private parties; students, nagging your teachers to give you a chance to dance >.

Tracey

Tracey…

While there are better pics of Halyma, this shows a bit of the veil and skirt from Shibori Borealis...

Halyma

And there are some standards that help making the transformation from your everyday gorgeous self ….

to your super powered dancer self.

As we are approaching my own Big Bi-Annual OCCP < Ottawa Community Class Party >, I spent the end of my final rehearsal time with one of my student groups listing a pile of things to think about as they prepare to dance that night.

And I thought some of you might find it helpful, interesting, and can add your own little tidbits in the comments, especially to help the new and up and coming dancers have more information!

Shira.net HAS A GREAT ARTICLE TOO -SO CHECK IT OUT!!

These are not in any particular order, just how they pop into my head, so prioritize based on your own process!

Know your music.Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.07.29 AM

Do I need to say more? Unless you are improvising to a live band you have never met before, in which case, just dance!!

Know your routine with your eyes closed.

Dancing a choreographed piece with other students? Know your routine with your eyes closed < literally, yes, I mean it>,  while still being prepared to adjust if everyone else suddenly forgets and you are the only one “doing it right”.

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.08.54 AMPractice Your Smile.

Unless your piece calls for a different facial expression, in which case, you should practice that.  It’s muscle memory once you don’t have to think about it, and that will make those pics of your look great.

Posture

Stand up straight, from the ribcage, and keep your butt tucked under to both protect your lower back and keep it from looking like you are doing some sort of Booty dance – unless you are doing it ironically, of course!  AND LOOK UP!!!

Make-up

On stage, the lights are bright – your face will fade into a neutral blob unless you define your lips and eyes. Here’s my cheesy video for applying make-up:

IMG_2098Nails and feet

You don’t have to go out and get an expensive mani-pedi, but take a moment to make sure your nails are neat and even, add polish if you like, but well groomed is the key. And shoes or not is also your choice, but it’s good to have a pair with you, just in case the space you are dancing in requires shoes, or is simply safer for you with shoes.

Underwear

YES. There are some costumes that make it difficult, but Bellydance has enough of a PR issue without the audience being distracted by the accidental viewing of more than they expected. And yes, I’ve heard that “in the old days” dancers didn’t wear underwear, so I’ll add that this is my OPINION, with which you can do what you like… but think about it…

Cover-up/Galabeya/robeScreen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.35.03 AM

Wear one for wandering around the audience. Yes, your veil can work in a pinch, but if you have a loose dress/ long tunic/ something comfy and pretty, save the viewing of your actual costume for when you are on stage. It also allows you to eat and drink – so that you don’t faint – without risking getting stuff on your costumes.

Hairspray

Your choice, but remember that MANY people have allergies/ sensitivities/ coughing fits around freshly sprayed hairspray, so TAKE IT OUTSIDE to a separate area where you can spray and return to the dressing area without overwhelming your colleagues.

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.26.51 AMPERFUME -NO.

Just no. It’s really not needed in this day and age of hygiene, and think about it – if you are on stage, no one is going to smell you anyway; and if you are dancing in a restaurant, shouldn’t the patrons be enjoying the smell of good food and drink? And that goes for essential oils, incense, and any other heavy scents – again we have society that has a number of people with sensitivities or should I say “Scentsitivities”, some of whom will actually become nauseated or get migraines from perfumes. Please be kind and just don’t. < lecture ends here >

STUFF- I treat this like I treat camping:

  • Pack light;
  • Keep your site clean
  • Make it better than how you found it;
  • Take home everything your brought with you
  • Recycle and clean up your garbage

Arrive on time or a little early

You may not get the chance to walk through your routine, but at least if you can check out the space you will be dancing in/on, you can take a few moments to prepare any modifications you might need to.  We’ve danced in shopping malls, in parks on rickety stages, in parks on uneven grass, and in theatres where it’s simply glorious, and every situation has required a quick run through with the group to establish entrances, exits, placements on stage etc.

Have you music in multiple formats

Click here for great Cd Art

Click here for great Cd Art

These days, in  my opinion, cd’s should be gone the way of cassette tapes < which is what I started with!> but many venues are still using cd players for their sound system. So, while I always inquire in advance, I usually bring my music on my iPod  < not my phone, that risks a disturbance in the force while dancing>, a USB stick and in rare cases, if absolutely required, cd. Most modern DJs have their laptop in place and can take your music right off a USB stick – but having it in more than one playable format is good.

What else do you do to prepare for a show?

Leave me some comments and if you have questions, pop them in the comments as well!