Friday, December 02, 2005

You Too Can Juggle...Really!

Although I am not a morning person, this Friday I made an exception to drag my carcass out of bed for the Celebration Rotary Club meeting. Normally, the local Rotary gathers at 7 a.m. every Friday at the Seasons Cafe in Celebration Health. Members enjoy a hot breakfast in tandem with the meeting.

For me, 7 a.m. is a vague, misty hour at which I might stir for a restroom visit or if one of the cats snuggled next to me is head-butting me for attention. But to actually drag my carcass out of bed and perform a task that requires consciousness is usually beyond my capabilities. Worse yet, being somewhere at 7 means actually getting up in the grey, other-worldly hour of 6. That is pure anathema for for an avowed night owl like myself.

But I'm interested in the Rotary, and I've already attended one meeting. They're an active community service organization that spearheads worthwhile projects like volunteering at Give Kids the World Village, raising funds for projects such as Give Kids Safe Shelter, and offering scholarships to high school students. You can learn more about them at Besides, how can I resist a club that bills itself as the "Happiest Club on Earth?"

The meeting topic this week certainly lent itself to a happy club. The speaker, Dave Finnigan, was going to teach everyone to juggle! I was a bit skeptical, since coordination is not my strong point even at the best of times, and it's probably even more dimished at any hour before 9 a.m. But Dave, also known as "Professor Confidence," is a public speaker (and Celebration resident) who guarantees on his website that any adult can learn some basic skills. You can learn more about him at

I urged my husband to join me, but he stayed up late working and had a Friday morning meeting so I decided to go solo. I planned to get to bed at a reasonable hour, but due to a problem with one of my websites, I was online till the wee hours with a tech support person. Still, I hoped to be conscious enough to get dressed and pilot Canyonero to Celebration Health.

I have an unfailing internal alarm clock; no matter how sleepy I might be, I pop awake at the correct time. That doesn't necessarily mean that I stay awake, but at least I stir long enough to look at the clock and confirm the time. My internal system has only failed me once. It was like one of those nightmares where you oversleep and miss an important appointment. Unfortunately, this time the nightmare was real, and I missed the first half of a horse show in which I was scheduled to compete. I'm not sure what happened, other than the fact that I was up until an ungodly hour playing video games. That was back in the Dark Ages, when Coleco-Vision was state of the art. All I had at home was an Atari 2600, and I was spending the night with a friend who owned the Coleco system. We played until we were bleary-eyed, long past midnight, and the games' mind-numbing effect evidently didn't wear off until 10 a.m. the next morning.

Fortunately, this morning the internal alarm was functioning flawlessly. I popped out of bed as the grey light of dawn peered weakly through the window. The cats were startled at my early morning activity. They gave me evil stares for daring to disturb their routine and then snuggled up with my hubby; any warm body will do for fickle felines.

I readied myself and climbed in Canyonero (my Aztek) for the short ride to Celebration Health. Unfortunately, when I go to the Seasons Cafe, I discovered that this week's meeting was actually at Stetson University. Oops! Fortunately, that's right downtown so I was able to make it in time without breaking any speeding laws.

The meeting was in an upstairs conference room. There was a nice continental spread of donuts and other baked goods, fresh fruit, water, juice, and coffee. I selected some pineapple, strawberries, and a tasty-looking glazed donut, which I figured would give me a good sugar rush to fuel the juggling. I chased it with a cup of coffee for that extra caffeine blast. I accidentally used a vanilla-flavored creamer; normally, I don't like anything sweet in my coffee, but it was actually pretty good.

After a demonstration on how to make up Rotary meetings online, we all trooped downstairs to some wide, open space so Dave could make us into jugglers. He demonstrated some basic moves with balls and then explained that we would be learning with scarves, since they move more slowly and are therefore easier for beginners to handle.

Everyone selected three colored scarves, and he walked us through the basic principles of juggling. Much to my amazement, I was able to follow along (albeit with plenty of scarf dropping). He taught us to handle two scarves and then to juggle three, both under- and over-handed.

As we worked our way up through the moves, he played appropriate motivational music and shouted encouragement to the mass of scarf-tossing bodies. I tried to watch the contortions of others, but I didn't have much concentration to spare as I strove to keep my own scarves airborn. Thank goodness they drift slowly; I couldn't even imagine trying to keep fast-moving spheres aloft. I've always enjoyed jugglers, but I learned a new appreciation of their skills.

It must have been quite an amusing sight to watch a roomful of people (both kids and adults) dance about madly as they juggled the colorful pieces of cloth. There were squeals of delight as they managed to them keep aloft and groans of disappointment when a scarf would manage to escape and reach the floor.

Since Dave built us up step by step, it wasn't nearly as complicated as I had feared. By the end, I suddenly clicked into the rhythm of the over-handed pattern. It was so cool! As I frantically tossed and caught my trio of flying scarves, I realized that Dave had fulfilled his promise: I was actually juggling!

The session was over all too soon (it usually lasts an hour, but we'd gone through an abbreviated 20-minute version). Reluctantly, I turned in my scarves and headed back home to East Village to begin my work day. As I maneuvered around the work truck blockade/obstacle course on East Lawn, I couldn't help but smile as I reflected on the morning. On a typical day, I would have just been stirring out of bed. But on this day I'd already made a major wasn't even 9 a.m. yet, and already I had learned to juggle. What a cool way to kick off the day.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the cobb salad too. I think it is the pefect food. I could probably eat the cobb salad everyday.

And MGM is my fav. Especially on a cool night.