It’s the last day of 2019 and the final day of the decade, which feels like an awful lot of pressure. What exactly have I accomplished in that time?
I quickly realized that contemplating this past year and the previous nine years was not morale-boosting if I only focused on my quest for traditional publication of my novels. So. I shifted my gaze to another aspect of my life.
Self-portrait, December 31, 2019.
I just went through my calendar and added up all my 2019 hoop-dancing sessions. And you know what? I hooped for 1,162 minutes this year (and there’s still time to add more today)! All those minutes translate to just over 19 hours of hoop-dancing this year. Nineteen hours of me dancing, whether I felt like it or not, knowing I always, always feel better after a hoop session. I didn’t sell the novel about my beloved character Poppy Valentine this year, but I danced myself through that disappointment (and the overall fog of hard-times-on-the-planet) and drafted another book.
Hoop-dancing and drafting? Not too shabby. Turns out I did accomplish a few things in 2019.
Happy New Year to everyone! May we all keep dancing in 2020!
let’s hoop it up, yo.
Zippy and I are in Ohio visiting my brother and his family. We spent the afternoon hunting down hoop-making materials before returning home to make four hoops of various sizes. Much hooping ensued (including my niece and I hoop-walking to the end of the street and back as her younger brother rode alongside on his scooter). Then basketball was added to the mix.
Here’s my favorite action shot of their entire family:
Lots of smiles and high-energy. A very nice day.
Our friend Susan came to visit today before she flies across the pond to officially begin life in London. (She now has a visa and is totally legit!) Anyway, she and I are hooping buddies from way back and we try to hoop together whenever we can. It turns out I can’t embed video on my site, so I encourage you to play “Ooh La La” from Goldfrapp while perusing these stills from our afternoon session:
The final two photos show our hoops colliding which brought shrieks of laughter and big, big smiles. Our hooping technique may be suspect, but our passion and enthusiasm are real.
Love and hugs to Susan as she embarks on her grand adventure!
After I finished my hoop-dancing session this morning, Zippy walked into the kitchen. I’d blasted lots of funky songs from my playlist and the final one was “Overpowered by Funk” by The Clash. As I danced over to pour myself coffee, I asked my mate, “Are you feeling overpowered by funk?”
Zippy said, “I think I’m immune to funk.”
“No,” I cried. “That’s just wrong! How could anyone be immune to funk?! That’s blasphemy!”
“Well,” Zippy conceded. “I do like Roger Clinton more than most people.”
“George Clinton!” I corrected. “You like George Clinton.”
“Oh, yeah,” Zippy said. “Roger Clinton is Bill Clinton’s brother.”
George Clinton: Parliament Funkadelic
No offense to Zippy, but there’s no mistaking Roger’s music for George’s.
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.
Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.
So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.
~ Neil Gaiman
Started my day with some hoop dancing, and now it’s off to write.
Today feels like a wonderful day to be me.
Thanks for reading this. Now go be you.
I made a new hoop today, something I’ve been talking about for months. My reasons for not doing it sooner include the usual procastinate-y suspects, but one of the main reasons I put it off was because I was nervous about taping it. The last hoop I made (in 2008) has layers of gaffer tape where I screwed up and overlapped. The tape added heft to that hoop (and a little imbalance).
Today, after Zippy measured, cut, and connected the irrigation tubing, I decided to take the easy approach: one color.
The spacing varies and there are some wrinkles, and I’m pretty confident that I’ll discover dog and/or cat hairs stuck in the tape, but I’m thrilled with my taping performance.
The hoop is pretty and blue and ready to go for a spin, and I’m perfectly content.
Hoop danced this morning,
the circle is now broken.
Turbo hip action.
Zebu and Wildebeest have been avid Spotify users for years, and now Zippy and I also have access to ALL THAT MUSIC.
It’s great to have a song pop in my head and then seconds later, I listen to it. It was years since I’d heard Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” and then the other morning her voice gave me chills.
Spotify is also great for quickly checking out bands and musicians I read about in Rolling Stone, plus I discover new music while listening to other people’s playlists. Case in point, Earl St. Clair. Spotify = MORE MUSIC TO LOVE.
But the absolute greatest thing about Spotify is how it’s rejuvenated my hoop dancing. In the dark ages, I’d cobbled together a playlist of songs that were mostly good for dancing within my hoop. And while Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady” and Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” are kick-ass hoop dancing songs, I was bored.
Dancer Doris Humphrey (1895-1958) in her hoop many years ago.
I’m now the proverbal kid in the candy store. New songs every day to inspire my hoop dance. New favorites to sample again and again without fear of getting in a permanent rut.
So on this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for:
all the incredible music that makes me want to dance,
and Spotify which makes it easy to do.
I’m not 100% positive, but am pretty sure this bunny
enjoys hooping and/or funky hooping music.
This guy/gal sat outside my picture window this morning,
watching and listening as I hoop-danced to
Aretha’s “Rock Steady”
Stevie’s “Higher Ground”
Know what this means?
I’ve got a new hooping buddy who happens to be a bunny
which makes him/her my hooping bunny buddy.
Try saying that three times real fast.
Hooping bunny buddy
Hooping bunny buddy
Hooping bunny buddy
Woke up this morning feeling low,
nothing specific driving my blues.
More like a muffled blanket of sad
wrapped around me.
I forced myself out of bed for:
but still wanted
to crawl back under the covers.
Grabbed some coffee and breakfast
along with my YA project notebook and pages.
Got to work.
but still blue around the edges.
Trying to use it to my advantage.
I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.
~ Duke Ellington
For much of my life I believed I was an extrovert because I enjoy meeting people and having conversations, making people laugh. But I can only do that for so long before I feel drained of energy. I learned that I need alone time to recharge my batteries (which is what defines an introvert), whereas extroverts recharge their batteries by being around other people.
The past several days were filled with socializing. Zippy and I had family and friends in town, which meant lots and lots of talking and laughing and laughing and talking. By the time we got home yesterday evening, I was wiped out. The strange thing was, I didn’t realize how far gone I was until I was in my jammies and on the couch ready to watch some Netflix. It was too much being in the same room with Zippy and I needed to be completely alone. So I closed myself off in our room.
from The Quiet Revolution (www.quietrev.com)
Today was spent refilling my well.
Lots of quiet time.
A couple naps.
And it wasn’t until this evening that I had the energy
for a little yoga and some hoop dancing.
I finally feel like me again.
We’re in the last few hours of 2015, one of the most difficult years of my life.
But not only am I still standing, I’m still running.
Despite the frigid temperatures (about 30 degrees in the sun),
Zippy and I went for a run around the neighborhood.
Cold yet life-affirming.
And now a friend is coming over to hoop with me.
That will be a warmer yet also life-affirming activity.
This morning some of my favorite kinds of birds showed up
A lovely way to say close out 2015.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a glorious, life-affirming 2016!
I used to hoop a lot and then I guess I lost enthusiasm because I never found my flow which made me feel clompy and uncoordinated and less-than-awesome in comparison with the many other people who seem to float as they hoop. BUT, today I’m feeling the urge to do more than spin the hoop around my waist while watching college basketball or whatever other television program I’d rather not view while sitting on my butt, and I want to learn to float and dance and do lots of graceful, cool tricks. I want to be the hooper of my imagination.
You heard it here first, people: I am going to cast off those clompy-Frankenstein-feelings and try to reclaim my joy in the spin. I am going to resume my pursuit of FLOW!
(Not me, not even close). This is a lovely hooper from Morguefile.com who I hope will keep me inspired to get back in the spin.
I just came in from hooping on my patio.
It was warm and sunny, and I dressed accordingly.
No, not like this:
image from morguefile.com
However, I did enjoy myself greatly.
In a few hours, the temperature will drop about 40 degrees and
the snow will begin to fall on this part of Colorado.
Maybe I'll wear a pink wig and striped socks when I'm out shoveling.
I want to check in here since I haven’t been around much lately,
but don’t want to completely fall out of the habit of blogging
while I’m hunkered down in the revision cave.
So here’s where I’m at in my collective health:
Emotionally speaking, I’m feeling good about the positive changes I’m
making via my revisions and choices for my career. I feel in control
of those factors I can control.
Physically speaking, I’m doing very well. Last Friday I graduated from
PT after seven weeks of no running. I can now run again on a limited basis
as I work back to where I was before. I’m also able to hoop again!!
My daily plank routine is going well, and I just finished a three-minute plank.
(I’m telling you, if you haven’t tried them, they’re a great way to firm up your core;
you see results very quickly).
Parentally speaking, in this exact moment I’m doing a better job of remembering
I already navigated my high school years and that it’s up to my boys to do the same.
(But, oh, it would be so nice to have a magic wand to keep away the hurt and angst).
Friendly speaking, I miss everyone here. And while I have glimmers of guilt for not
keeping up, I know you all understand. You get why it’s important to keep my head
down and push on through. But please know I’m thinking of you and sending good
thoughts your way.
This morning I came across ‘s post about trying new things.
Then I read ‘s post in which she invited us to be brave in our lives.
And the wheels in my brain started to turn,
which, in turn, caused my heart to pound.
Because I knew what new thing I’d like to try.
It’s something that would require a great amount of bravery.
In fact, my heart’s pounding again as I write this.
I want to take hooping lessons.
There, I said it!
But just the thought of demonstrating
my clunky, flow-less hooping to a pro
causes me great panic.
I mean, look at her:
This woman lives in my area and offers private lessons.
(Group lessons would totally overwhelm me, I think).
On the one hand, my new year’s resolutions included
learning to Beam Me Up (a cool hooping trick) and improving my flow.
She is so very good and I’m so very, um, what’s the word I’m looking for?
It’s been one of those months (a whole year of those months,
actually) and I decided to have some fun with the frustration
via Ryan Adams’ "Halloweenhead." Antics ensue.
Warning: "mature" language.
Here I am.
Hooping and happy.
Tomorrow we have regime change.
Yesterday I wasn’t my usual Birthday Gal self.
Despite kind messages from friends afar.
The sky was cold and gray, and my heart was heavy.
Then my loving Zippy came home early bearing gorgeous gifts.
It’s hard feeling down in the presence of sunflowers.
I decided it was time to make that new hoop I’ve wanted.
I find myself smiling again.
Life goes on.
Thank you to all who share it with me.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I’ve wanted to post a video of me hooping but wasn’t brave enough.
This morning’s sunshine and my groovy shadow gave me courage.
Here I am hooping to Nick Drake’s "Know."
We went to Westcliffe for my family’s reunion and this time I remembered to bring my beginner’s hoop, the oversized, extra-heavy, foam-covered hoop I learned with last summer. Last month when visiting her, I’d only brought the lighter hoops and Mom was intimidated when the hoop kept dropping.
Not so this time around. The (78-year-old) woman is a natural.
Here we are during one of our 45-minute sessions:
(I’m having major difficulties with uploading photos onto my LJ. I can’t even get into Photobucket anymore and finally got this to work via TinyPic but it didn’t accept my custom cropping so you’re getting a much larger view of the car hood and much smaller view of Mom and me than I’d intended. Not to mention how my LJ keeps giving me an “undefined” error message when I click on Insert/Edit Image. Aargh!!!)
Last night I printed out the final twelve pages of my ms and read them again. I felt cold dread. Something was off. So I went outside and hooped without music as I talked aloud (to myself and the occasional finch or robin) about my story. And I realized I needed to use highlighters to, well, highlight the different plot and character interactions in those pages to get a handle on the situation.
Today I highlighted and wrote on sticky notes and scribbled in margins and crossed out paragraphs and basically had a good ol’ time ripping those pages apart. The cold dread has now warmed to a tentative optimism.
I wanted to post a photo of my efforts because it felt good to make that kind of progress but also because the results were rather colorful and festive.
Alas, I cannot locate my camera. Perhaps Zippy took it to British Columbia.
If you’d like to humor me, close your eyes and visualize yellow, pink, orange, green, and blue lines scattered with pale yellow sticky notes and illegible blue ballpoint scribbles.
Oohs and aahs optional.
On Saturday I hooped for the first time in about a month, and then again today. Ouch. Apparently regular hooping toughens up the hip bone region but when you lay off for a while, well, it goes all soft and tender again. Tiny green bruises may ensue.
In hooping, as in flossing, consistency is key.