Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Flames Leaving Saddledome Rumors Spark Memories of '83 Music Concert Backlash

When I read rumors that the Calgary Flames were looking at plans for 'possible' new venues and may leave the now "Scotiabank Saddledome" I couldn't help but  flashback to my '80s music days in Calgary.  I will never forget the look on my husband's face when he told me his music promoting colleagues asked him "Was that your wife that wrote this article on the Saddledome?"

Having worked behind the scenes for Ken Cooper of Calgary's Brimstone Productions in the '80s (my husband and then ex before I changed my name to Alannah Ryane...another story )from cooking vegetarian meals for  Judy Collins, working security for the Eagles, driving for Karla Bonoff during Meatloaf's 'Bat Out Of Hell' tour,  fielding phone calls from Bruce Allen, Valdy &  Long John Baldry to taking Supertramp horseback riding in Banff...I learned a lot!

When the Saddledome was built, the international music industry, Canadian promoters & especially Brimstone Productions, were very happy.  Finally, a large indoor venue in the middle of Canada to complete the East/West tours!

Brimstone was lining up major acts to open the new stadium when they heard the powers that be were going with a small local free concert and then another small concert with  WWII singer Vera Lynn.  The promoters right across Canada were now ...not happy.

As usual I couldn't hold my tongue.  One month after my 'letter to the editor' appeared on the 2nd page of the Calgary Herald, the Moody Blues were the first musical act booked at the Saddledome with Stevie Ray Vaughan November 1983.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Who's Leading? - Ballroom Dancing in Real Life

Bookmark and Share

I am not alone in saying the biggest challenge for a Ballroom Dance instructor is teaching women how to 'follow' and men over their fear of 'taking the lead'. 

Richard Powers, Instructor at Stanford University's Dance Division, has written a wonderful article on Great Partnering where he addresses the 'Dark Ages of Ballroom Dance' and the negative connotations of the terms lead and follow:

"Unfortunately, the 1920s through 1950s saw the emergence of a particularly disagreeable phase of ballroom dance, when the term lead meant 'command' and follow meant 'obey'."

The question I am asked most often is 'how do I know what he is doing next" or "how do I convey the next step to her?"  It is all about giving and interpreting the signals.  I describe it as the one who is following interpreting the body language of their partner.  A slight turn of his head and his upper body starts to turn in that direction, it is a subtle move that when the ladies are tuned into their partner they can both experience an effortless change in direction while totally in sync with each other. 

Being too forceful, passive or resistant can indicate deeper relationship issues which I have to work with but 'dance' around. While in a conversation with a friend and dance student, who teaches courses in assertiveness, we discovered that the same issues we encounter in everyday life manifest, in an instant, in partner dancing as soon as they go into the 'hold' position. I believe the same techniques used in assertiveness training can also be applied to the lead and follow issues we encounter in Ballroom partner dancing.

I have also discovered that the need for women to 'fix it' can block their ability to be patient  while their partner is still learning the steps.  Only after a man is confident in his footwork can he focus on learning how to lead or convey the signals to his partner. 

While in a conversation with a friend and dance student, who teaches courses in assertiveness, we discovered the same issues manifest in partner dancing and the same techniques can be applied to remedy the situation.

Here are some quick notes I have compiled to reflect on and which I hope will provide some clear solutions to the lead/follow dilemma.

"Being assertive requires you to place as much attention on the person receiving
your message as it does on the way you send your message. By building a bridge
to them you are able to meet in the middle. This reduces confusion and can
enhance closeness and clarity
. (Bourne, Edmund, 2010. Anxiety and Phobia
Workbook.New Harbinger.)

1. This is when you get that "ah ha ' feeling of being in sync and moving as

2. Especially in women, I believe thoughts of 'who's watching', 'what's the next
step,' etc. manifest in our body language and movement. This creates a
'disconnect' between the partners.

3. Practice of any physical activity through repetition creates memory in our
bodies on the cellular level.

4. If we can be present in the moment and aware of the space around us, just
like walking, we will soon be able to by-pass the 'mind' and let our cells
remember where our feet should go.

5. Leading does not equate to being aggressive or exercising power and control over the other, nor does following mean being passive.

I ask the ladies to move a half a second after he does to give yourselves time to 'pick up' on the signals and soon there will come a time when there is no leading or following … just dancing as one.

As Bourne says "represent 'yourself' in your own space" and as I say, "while maintaining self control." Just think about how wonderful it is to have a partner willing to experience the joy of dancing with you!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Switching Gears: Revamping & Reinventing Myself...Again!

After a number of years running my own Virtual Assistant service for small businesses I decided to spend more time offline in the organic world and let go of the wifi!

I started teaching at 13 in my mother's dance studio Doreen Hayes School of Dancing, and have been teaching in Ontario's 'cottage country' for 8 years so I increased my Ballroom and Latin Dance classes with renewed enthusiasm and a quest to elevate and improve the age old question 'Who's Leading'.

14th Century Church - Cill an Iomaire

I also finally went to Ireland as a backpacking senior citizen, living in hostels, eating from the dollar store and subway restaurants, and making promotional deals for my client  

I was hired to visit the beautiful County of Sligo on the Leitrim border and the set of Ken Loach's new film 'Jimmy's Hall' . Here is my interview with the controversial screenwriter Paul Laverty for

As the former Social Media Manager for the I made a lot of contacts in Ireland so I had the best tour guides and Anna Porter took me on a whirlwind tour of beautiful and historically important sites.  I am now writing and producing video of my journeys in Ireland and the UK with a focus on the joys of traveling using 'intuitive synchronicity'. You can read the posts on my Wild Geese Irish Blog. I have lots more to come and it would be nice to have company as I journey on my life's road in an attempt to live as my 'authentic self'  as I believe moving between the organic and synthetic worlds as who you really are is so much more fun!

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, June 19, 2010

How To Get A WIFI Signal to your Detached Garage Office

MY MISSION: To get a clear hi-speed internet WIFI signal with a lot of bandwidth to an apt above a client's garage office 100' away from a house, on a river, in a rural area with the 2-Wire DSL modem another 50' away at the back of the house, without having to run 150' of CAT-5 Ethernet cable.

PHASE 1: The first issue was the 2-Wire wireless/modem from Bell that was not producing a wifi signal without a little D-Link G router. I knew we wouldn't be able to get the WIFI up to the garage office until this issue was resolved so Bell pushed the signal up from 4 to 8 and then it blew. They sent another one, which took a couple of days because Purolator could not find the road. We asked them why the office couldn't give the driver the directions, their answer was that the drivers do not have phones. Once we installed the replacement 2-Wire she could get 2-3 bars on her mac out on her deck but not far from her kitchen window.

PHASE 2: After a lot of research we went to purchase the D-Link DIR 655 N Xtreme router, which was on sale for $99 but they were sold out. The rep at Staples said that the DIR 825 Xtreme N Dual Band Gigabit Router which was also on sale for $130, ran on both 2.4GHz & 5GHz wireless signals at the same time, grabs a lot of information and pushes the signal at 3x the speed. We got a deal on 50' of Ethernet cable from a friend ($20 instead of $60) and ran it through the basement from the back side of the house, where the modem was connected to the phone line, up into the kitchen at the window.  This was the closest we could get to the garage which was still another 100' away and in a steel building. I pointed the antenna's directly at the apt window.  Walking the Macbook Pro down the decks over to the garage and up the stairs to the apartments back window that faces the house it maintained a full signal. Then for the next 5 days my laptop could not hold the signal and once booted off neither my client or I could get our macs back online on either the D-Link or the Bell wireless network.

PHASE 3: Five days of phone calls to Bell and D-Link would have made most people give up and indeed my client would not have even attempted to hang in with me if it wasn't for the fact that I displayed my "Badger Medicine". Having chosen Video Production and a Virtual Assistant Service as my careers I have long since let technology wear me down. If I do not know how to do something I will google for answers until I do. The problem was that you have to be online to change any settings on your D-Link and just when one of those marvelous folks in India figured out what to do next..the internet signal would drop!  Then it was on to a call to Bell to get it back on then get another piece of information and a step closer to the D-Link hookup, of course neither company supporting the other.  My client and I saw each other on the floor with our butts up in the air more times then we would like to remember!

PHASE 4: Aha!  With each phone call we got closer to the problem and the solution. It finally became clear to all of us around the 5th day that:

a) the signals from both wireless routers were conflicting
b) my mac up in the garage office was reverting back to the D-Link IP address instead of the modem's and interfering with my client's wireless connection on her mac in the house.


a) we had Bell reduce the signal on the modem from 9 to 7 to reduce crossover of signal
b) connected a mac directly to the D-Link through Ethernet while on the phone to tech support
c) changed the IP address setting to the modem IP, essentially turning the D-Link router into a "Switch"

Now we can be online at the desk on the other side of the garage apt and another 25' from the apt window that is receiving the signal from the router in the house kitchen window. We are able to stream video, about halfway into the garage apt, without a problem even with my client on the same network in her house. I think the guy at Staples was right, the DIR-655 would not have been able to boost the signal as well as this DIR-825 and even though once in a while there is a drop out it comes right back on.  Now to get onto the real work...
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why Hire A Social Media Virtual Assistant?

Both small and large business owners are perplexed when it comes to Social Media Marketing, blogging, branding and creating an Online Presence. It is understandable because the speed that Social Media and these new marketing platforms are being created is keeping everyone in a constant game of catch up.  Speed is the operative word here when it comes to Social Media as we are in fast times and the faster we can get new information online and develop relationships with our potential customers the faster our business moves forward. 

Back before there was Social Media I was in Music and Film promotion. There was a simple format to promote your event through Press Releases, Press Kits, Interviews and Cross Promotion with complimentary groups, organizations and businesses. Either you acquired some major Print, Radio and TV coverage or you didn't, it all came down to the competition.  These days your competition could very well be global when services like holistic or medical consultations, are using webcams and Skype.

Today the numbers for users on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, You Tube, and countless other platforms are astounding and with every application comes another LEARNING CURVE.  For those who tend to get frustrated learning anything new technically, especially if you cannot immediately see the benefit, Social Media Marketing can be daunting.  This is where OUTSOURCING YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE to a VIRTUAL ASSISTANT can not only keep you in the game, stress free, but the cost is far more efficient then paying a full time employee or spending your valuable time.  Setting up and creating your Online Presence on multiple platforms also includes linking them all reciprocally and maintaining regular updates.

During an initial consultation I will discover your:
  • Desired outcome & Brand
  • Target audience/groups
  • Budget
  • Preferred social media platforms

    For more information on my Virtual Assistant Services please go to  or Contact me for further information and pricing.  I look forward to assisting your business as your   Virtual Assistant.
    Bookmark and Share