Brought to you by the letter Z for Jazz, baby!

Zap! …I really can’t believe the month is over and this is the last A-Z challenge post! No more daily Nita in your inbox!

I love the letter Z. There are a lot of great things I could have written about that actually start with a z, but I found out just a few minutes ago that today, April 30th, is actually International Jazz Day!

Jazz hands, everyone!  Yeah!







Today I’m going to show you a couple of original fusion pieces I choreographed for the dancers to perform to LIVE Big Band music back in 2011. Bellydance meets Big Band!

OMG it’s the most amazing feeling to be on the big stage with a full 18-piece big band behind you. Amazing! I wish every dancer could experience it.

First, here is a new one that hasn’t hit my website yet (because I only uploaded it to YouTube about 10 minutes ago). Orange Colored Sky!

And here they are again, dancing to another great big band standard: Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.

And last but not least…and entirely appropriate for the very last post of the A-Z in April challenge: our Rockin’ the Casbah FINALE done to New York, New York.

Phew! Can’t believe it’s over.  It’s over, baby!

I hope you had as much fun this month as I did!

I’d love to hear from you…which post was your favourite?

ZI’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday).

…but don’t go away! I’ll still be blogging, just not every day, regular as clockwork!

Y: Yukon meditation

In 2012 I did a series of one minute films that I called “one Yukon minute.” The idea was to spend one minute in meditation, looking at a photograph…except it would be a living photograph, with movement and sound. Serene. Tranquil. Something to reflect on and calm the mind. A moving meditation, so to speak.

Taking a moment – even just one minute – to stop and mediate on something beautiful helps to bring balance to our lives. Each film is one minute long. Here are two of my favourites:

Filmed October 7, 2012. Sunset at the Fox Lake house.


One month later, November 10, 2012. The beginning of freeze-up at the Fox Lake house.

YI’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday)

X is for Xylophone!


C’mon…raise your hands. How many of you think of this little toy when you hear the word xylophone?

Actually, the term xylophone also includes instruments such as the marimba, the semantron and the vibes. BUT (for you purists – I’m talkin’ to you, Mr. C…) while vibes are often called xylophones, they aren’t actually a true xylophone. This is because, unlike the xylophone, each vibraphone bar has a resonator tube with a motor-driven valve at one end that produces a tremolo. Also unlike a true xylophone, the vibraphone also has a sustain pedal like a piano.

Does hearing the xylophone have the same effect on you that it does on this cat?

I hope not, because I’ve assembled a few very short clips for your enjoyment:

Take a breath and hold onto our seat for Ralph Heid, the worlds fastest xylophone virtuoso playing the Flight of the Bumblebee!

Do you prefer jazz? How about the  master of the vibraphone, jazz-giant Lionel Hampton!

How about the William Tell Overture featuring Dan Marquis on xylophone with the Indiana Wind Orchestra:

Perhaps you prefer your xylophone to be more…organic?

Or maybe you prefer zen-xylophone (this is actually very neat and worth the watch)…

And how about a piece of classical music written especially for the xylophone:

Would you like to make your own xylophone?

XI’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday)

the letter W is brought to you by…Geraldine?

Lets take a little walk down memory lane, shall we?


Lets visit …







1965 with Johnny Cash, June Carter & Bill Russell:

1971 with Ray Charles

1970 on the Ed Sullivan show. The Devil made me Do it.

I remember watching Flip Wilson when I was a kid. Do you remember?


WI’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday)

V is for Vincent

Mr. C and I visited the National Art Gallery in Ottawa in 2001, and lucky for us, several Vincent van Gogh paintings were in residence at the time.

177px-VanGogh_Bedroom_Arles1Van_Gogh_-_Still_Life_with_AbsintheVincent van Gogh’s paintings are breath taking, especially – especially! – in person. If you haven’t stood in front of a van Gogh yet, please put it on your bucket list. It’s worth every effort.


One of the paintings was Wheat Field with Cypresses (below). It was hard to walk away from it.










Did you know that Vincent van Gogh was also a prolific writer? He wrote the most wonderfully descriptive letters.


waterHere is an excerpt from a letter Vincent van Gogh wrote from Ramsgate, England to his brother Theo van Gogh in Holland, 28th April 1876:

…Now let me tell you about a walk we took yesterday. It was to an inlet of the sea, and the road to it led through the fields   of young wheat and along hedgerows of hawthorn etc. When we got there we had on our left a high, steep wall of sand and stone, as high as a two-storey house, on top of which stood old, gnarled hawthorn bushes. Their black or grey, lichen-covered stems and branches had all been bent to the same side by the wind, also a few elder bushes.

The ground we walked on was completely covered with large grey stones, chalk and shells.

To the right the sea, as calm as a pond, reflecting the delicate grey sky where the sun was setting. It was ebb tide and the water was very low.”

Aspringnd another, excerpted from a letter written from London, England to his brother to his brother Theo van Gogh in Holland, 30th April, 1874:

“… I walk here as much as I can, but I’m very busy. It’s absolutely beautiful here (even though it’s in the city). There are lilacs and hawthorns and laburnums &c. blossoming in all the gardens, and the chestnut trees are magnificent.

IfVincent_Van_Gogh_0021 one truly loves nature one finds beauty everywhere. Yet I sometimes yearn so much for Holland, and especially Helvoirt.

I’m doing a lot of gardening and have sown sweet peas, poppies and reseda, now we just have to wait and see what comes of it.

I enjoy the walk from home to the office and in the evening from the office back home. It takes about three-quarters of an hour.

If you would like to read his letters, they are archived at


Don McLean wrote his famous song Vincent as a loving tribute. And then the Dr. Who show did a beautiful tribute in two episodes. Later, a brilliant woman named Camille Ibarra put clips of the episodes and the Don McLean song together to produce this beautiful montage:

Dearest Vincent, the world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.



VI’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday)

the alliterative letter U and an Undertaking

University undergraduate Ursula underestimated her uniquely ugly Ukranian uncle Ulric as he ululated and undulated under his umber-coloured umbrella. 

Phew! Now for the undertaking:

Yesterday I took it upon myself to make a small gift for our egg lady. Every couple of weeks either Mr. C or  I knock on her door and buy a dozen or two fresh farm eggs. She’s usually baking something and her kitchen always smells wonderful. The last time I bought eggs, I told her that I was baking a red velvet cake for Michael’s 30th birthday and she asked me what kind of food colouring I was using. I told her and she said “no, no…use this instead” and she gave me a little jar of paste. There would be just enough left in the jar for one cake, she said. The cake turned out beautifully, thanks to her unselfish generosity. 


To say thank you, I made this little mat for her coffee cup to sit on while she’s in the kitchen. I’ll take it up next time I go for eggs. Since I only have one egg left, it won’t be long. 


   I’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (exceptSunday).