Burn, Baby, Burn

Fire, fire, hoops on fire…Yup. I did my first hoop burn last night! It wasn’t anything I had been planning on. My plans for the night included well, not much. I was gonna have hoop class but since I hadn’t heard from anyone, I decided to cancel. A friend of mine had emailed me to ask if I was going to the hoop class taking place in downtown. It was the last in a series of elemental flow classes- and the last class was fire. Since I am always the one teaching classes, I thought it would be fun to take a class. Plus it gave me an opportunity to catch up with some of my hoopy friends I hadn’t seen in awhile.

Class started with some breathing and stretching, followed by a fire meditation. Each of us had a candle and as we sat in our circle, flames flickering, we visualized anything that no longer served us, burning away. It was perfect and just what I needed. We worked our way through some new, and some not so new movements and tricks. We spun, swirled and twirled. LED hoops lit up the night. Before I knew it that segment of class was done and it was time to play with fire.

Until last night, I was a fire hooping virgin. But last night, my neverbeforeburned fire hoop got lucky. We had both been waiting until the right time. The peer pressure has never been bad, but part of me felt like everyone else was doing it, maybe I should too. I mean I have been hooping for 2 years now. Everything came together perfectly. Fuel, fire extinguishers, friends, wet towels, the moon glistening in the night sky- almost romantic. It’s like it was meant to be. I didn’t know what to expect. Would it hurt? Would I get burned? But then I was lit. The whooshing sound of the flames was exhilarating. The heat rushed up and down my skin. I was on fire!

And then…my hoop came apart.

I guess these things happen. Your first time is hardly ever perfect, right? But I’m a trooper. I was not gonna let that get me down. My safety person was by my side in the blink of an eye, we popped that hoop back together and I was back in the flame!

I’m already excited about my next time. Will it be just as good as my first? They say fire is addictive for some. I think there is a good chance I am already on that train.

*watch my video here

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Familiar places and faces

ImageI love coming back to our old stomping grounds. Every time we are in Ashland we are greeted with hugs, squeals and smiles. We lived here for about 2 1/2 years, which isn’t terribly long, but this is just the type of town that is easy to flow right back in to. It is comfortable in the best way and we feel at ease hopping from one favorite spot to another.

We arrived Saturday, with rains battering our truck and just enough time to spend with our lovely hostess (thank you Arica!) before we had to get ready for our other friends wedding. We donned our best (and looked quite spiffy I might add) and headed up the mountain. The wedding was taking place at the top of Mt. Ashland at the ski lodge. It is still June mind you, so the weather can be unpredictable. Rains were pouring in town but as we climbed, those little water droplets quickly transformed into snowflakes. Initially, the ceremony was to take place outdoors but it was obvious that this was no longer going to happen. The delicate flakes that danced around our vehicle suddenly became a sideways blizzard with almost whiteout conditions. The husband dropped me off at the door which was ever so gentlemanly of him as I was not dressed for the occasion- a little black dress and red heels is not snow weather attire. I found a familiar face and was directed to the bridal dressing area where I was welcomed with anticipating and happy faces. The wedding was beautiful of course and we ate, danced and spent the evening laughing uproariously.

Apparently, we arrived during a cold front because the next day was full of ominous clouds and sprinkling rains as well. After waking, we made our way to one of our favorite parks where I used to have weekly hoop jams. Which is why we were there this day! I got out the hoops, waited for the friends to arrive and spent an hour twirling and swirling until we all decided we were famished and ready for sushi! Now Kobe is one of my all-time favorite places to eat in Ashland. The crunchy cheese roll is out of this world amazing- almost dessert like. Stuffing ourselves silly and leaving with the biggest smile on my face, we were ready for darts at the Black Sheep! So many epic and fun memories have been spent here and this time was no less great. More friends arrived and we stayed until closing time. Image

Of course by this point, you are pretty wiped out but since you are on vacation and have such a short period of time with your amazing friends, you suck it up and keep going. We were a bit more lazy and struggled getting out of bed by day 3 but we felt we should get out. We wandered to a place we have driven past many times but never spent time at. The trails and gardens at the North Mountain Nature Center are beautiful! I have always dreamed of having gardens like these in my backyard but now that we are in the desert, the possibilities are not quite the same. We strolled along some of the paths, took a nap in the grass but the rain was back again (that’s Oregon for ya), so we left and went to a friends house to hot tub (and yes, I am using that as a verb). Soaking and relaxing so deeply that it was hard not to fall asleep, is just awesome. Soon it was once again time to prepare for the evenings next outing- jazz at Martinos- which used to be one of our Monday night rituals. My girlfriend has been singing with the jazz trio for a couple of years and she gets better and better every time I see her perform!

Yesterday was spent walking Main Street to do some shopping. And cupcake eating. Larry’s has the best cupcakes and I make it a point to go anytime I am in town! The sun had finally come out so our walkabout was much more enjoyable. The time had come and our final evening was upon us. And what better way to spend it than with a BBQ and gathering of our closest friends? The food was amazing of course. We drank wine, cuddled and giggled, smoked from the hookah, took endless photos and sighed through the night at our upcoming departure. 

So here I am on our final morning, cleaning up the happy messes from the blissful night before and reliving the wonderful events of our time spent in this heart warming town. I will be out of touch for the next number of days as we backpack along the Rogue River and ultimately make our way a bit south to the Redwoods. To our favorite places, super amazing friends and more memories to someday come- thank you all! Ashland, you will always hold a place in our hearts. We love you!

The Hula Hoop vs. The Postal Worker

Dear Postal Workers of USPS,

First off, I would like to give a huge shoutout to all you that have helped me. I recognize that most of you are probably are trying your hardest to refrain from giving me the death stare. Whether is is heartfelt or not, I appreciate the smile and sense of humor that you are able maintain as I walk into the post office with this large, circular, awkward object covered in nothing but bubble wrap (and on that note, thank you for not popping all the bubbles, for I am aware of its temptation).

And so it begins. The inevitable tug-of-war. I explain to you, assuming I have not shipped with you before, that when I lived in Oregon I was able to ship with zero issues. And no, it shouldn’t cost $50-$100 to ship. And no, my hoops have never been sent back to me, nor have I ever received a notice that I owe more money. If I have shipped with your office before but you are new to the routine, I apologize that the person who helped me last time is not working today. But hang in there…I know we can figure this out together.

I watch you, albeit slightly uncomfortably, grab the hoop up over the counter and try to balance it on your scale. You initially seem confident since it doesn’t weigh much but suddenly it is time to measure the dimensions. And then it all gets very confusing. Techincally, yes, it is an oversized package. But please don’t let that discourage you! Because it weighs next to nothing I think it truly does not qualify as oversize.

We have worked together successfully- including the trip I just made about an hour ago to send off 3 more to Alaska. I thank you for your patience and the quirky questions I sometimes get (and not just from you but other customers as well). And might I recommend allowing your curiosity to get the better of you and check out what this whole hooping thing is about online (or from me if you would like a card)?

Until next time, I hope you drive home with a smile and tell your family and friends of our adventures together.

Sincerely,

A grateful hooper