Sunday, September 4, 2011

Meet Me Halfway

A clip from my practice at Gibson Park today with my little niece. I would have got a few more tricks in there, but little ZZ was ready to go home after a few hours of playing, feeding ducks, and watching Auntie dance.

If anyone is interested in impromptu hoop jams I'll be in Great Falls, MT until the end of the month. My hoop is my instrument-- let's jam!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Big Dig Scholarship

“A new cycle begins this day. A new cycle begins every day. Indeed, every moment. So if you recognize anything on this day, recognize what it symbolizes: The miracle of the endlessly continuing Cycle of Life.” –Tarapin

If I was going to go out to my backyard and bury something that would end financial worries for a generation 200 years into the future, then I would place the most precious item I own into the ground. In unearthing my time capsule my great-great-great-grandchild(ren) may be perplexed by my decision, however, hopefully it would become clear that in this idem carries all of my hopes and dreams for my future and perhaps theirs as well.

The item I would bury is my very first adult-sized hula hoop.

Hula hooping (and hoop dancing) is not just an activity for children on a playground. The hobby can be seen in a variety of events including; music festivals, parks, dance recitals and fitness centers. The fun and relatively easy physical activity of hooping comes with many health benefits through a variety of exercises, tricks and dance-moves, including; core-strengthening and a cardiovascular workout. These “workouts” enhance stamina and motor skills as well as strengthen the posture points in your back, legs, arms and hips.

Hoop dance makes for amazing connections within the community. It elicits smiles from strangers in a synchronistic full circle connection. It is a beautiful artistic dance that allows one to tap into the rhythm of the soul. By moving in alignment with the hoop, one stretches and tones every muscle and joint in the body, it brings circulation and energy to the internal organs, balances the nervous systems and improves absorption of nutrients.

I first stepped into the sacred circle in 2009, when I received my first hoop for Christmas. It was purchased at a local shop called Sweet Potato Pie in my hometown; Eugene, Oregon. It cost $45.
  

Hula hoops range from plastic (commonly seen in children toys), aluminum (circus tools), PVC pipes (homemade hobby hoops), and even hoops made for LED/light performance and fire dancing (there is even the Cyr Wheel). There are many online shops, holiday markets, Saturday Markets, department stores and people who sell hula hoops (you can even make your own!)—and, with so many different places to buy hoops and so many different kinds of hoops it is an affordable hobby (prices range from $5 to $300) for anybody and a potential avenue for financial gain.

The reason I feel my first hula hoop will have value two hundred years into the future is because of the hula hoops rich historical value. The history of the hula hoop dates back to the Greek and the Egyptians Civilizations in 3,000 B.C., some American Indians, such as the Lakota Indians, evolved the hoop dance and even used hoops for target practice. And, there are many similarities in movements when it comes to Hoop dance and the Hula dances of Hawaii. With Egyptian, Native American and Hawaiian origins, hula hooping is both culturally and physically stimulating.

Moreover, hoop dance is my tool for alchemy, transformation of self-acceptance, and it helps me find my joy of just being. It is my current goal to earn my livelihood through hula hooping and hoop dance.

I am currently studying at Salt Lake Community College in the hopes to transfer to the University of Utah so I can receive my bachelors in Health Promotion and Education. I want to perform and teach others about the joy I feel in my body when I pick up my hula hoop. I know that my passion matched with the solid foundation I am building through retaining my upper education I can reach my goals of becoming a Hula Hoop Dance Instructor. And, in that knowledge, I want future generations to have the same opportunities as me, that is why I would bury my beginners’ hoop.

The Hula Hoop: an amazing tool and toy-- a gift that generations to come are sure to enjoy as well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mindless babble in the middle of the night...(started at 2:30 in the morning)

I was with friends and their sets of children all day today. At the end of the day when it was just two of my friends we started talking about parenting; our differing opinions on punishment, guilts, triumphs and general things that one doesn't hear about until one is faced with caring for a child.

As Marc and I's wedding day approaches the idea of us starting a family hangs heavy on my mind. I think about our life together and the things we want to accomplish prior to having our first child. I think about graduating college, teaching others about the joys of hooping, becoming financially sound, traveling and spending time with Marc and building a foundation together for our someday family.

I am looking forward to the future. I see my friends with their grubby little bastards and I think to myself how lucky they are to have THEIR babies. And, someday down the road, a few years into the future, I hope to have that too.

However, I also can't help but be reminded of the two sweet boys and one mouthy girl who made me realize that I might be good at being a mommy someday.

Most days, you wouldn't even know that while my mind is doing a million other little things my heart is walking around outside of my body in the form of Alex and Ryan (and Cole too). I have struggled so hard to cope with losing them and I always feel so weak when the sadness becomes too much and I need to get it out. I feel like a weirdo who is unable to let things go. I feel like it's inappropriate of me to hold such strong feelings towards an ex's children. And, I feel like other people feel similar.

But, I can't help it. I can control my actions that derive from these feelings and how I express those feelings as well, but I can't help but feel the hurt I have from having little to no contact with those kiddos since October 2008.

I ache for the sight of them. I miss them and love them with everything in my being. And, it drives me absolutely crazy to not have the ability to even tell them how badly I want to give them a hug.

I have (most of) their pictures packed away, along with the Mother's Day gifts I received from them, school work, drawings, notes and other random items I come across, that all get placed in the same box. I have done this as a way to mourn and move on, but I know that Nicole (and her two sons), along with Alex and Ryan are out there in the world, and it is hard having the powers at be from keeping me from at least spreading love to them.

Alexander William John holding Ryan James' hand at the Body Jewelery Company, circa late 2006/2007 


Its not that Alex and Ryan are lacking people in their life that love them. I know that there are people that love all three of the kids deeply and care for them in the same capacity.  And regardless of what some of these people may think, or feel about me, I can't help but have an overwhelming sense of gratitude; There is no such thing as there being too many people that can love a child. 

Knowing this brings me peace. I may not have a say in how the kids are being raised. The kids may have adults in their life that may say disparaging things about me and discourage them from speaking with me and it may not be the ideal situation for how I want things to be for them, but I have accepted that I don't have control anymore and all I have left is learning to be grateful for the subtle gifts from Spirit that assure me that those kids are fine. 

That's what keeps me going...

Every night I go to bed dreaming of the moment I get to see them again, the moment when years without them are erased by a hug, the moment when all my tears are dried by their beaming faces, the moment when hearing the sound of their voices means seeing them at the same time. Knowing that the moment I dream of will eventually become a reality is what keeps me going.













Tuesday, April 12, 2011

OMG! RECIPES!

Vegetarian Taco Salad


Vegetarian TaCo Salad
INGREDIENTS

·         2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
·         1 large onion, chopped
·         1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels frozen, thawed
·         4 large tomatoes
·         1 1/2 cups cooked preferred rice
·         1 15-ounce can black, kidney or pinto beans, rinsed (We used chili beans)
·         1 tablespoon chili powder
·         1 1/2 teaspoons Taco Seasoning
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
·         1/3 cup prepared salsa
·         2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
·         1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
·         2 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled tortilla chips
·         Lime wedges for garnish

PREPARATION

1.     Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and corn; cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop 1 tomato. Add it to the pan along with rice, beans, chili powder, 1 teaspoon oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato cooks down, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
2.     Coarsely chop the remaining 3 tomatoes. Combine with cilantro, salsa and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oregano in a medium bowl.
3.     Toss lettuce in a large bowl with the bean mixture, half the fresh salsa and 2/3 cup cheese. Serve sprinkled with tortilla chips and the remaining cheese, passing lime wedges and the remaining fresh salsa at the table.

TIPS & NOTES

·         Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 1, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days; reheat slightly before serving.
·         Kitchen Tips: To remove corn kernels from the cob, stand an ear of corn on its stem end and slice the kernels off with a sharp, knife.
·         To cook rice, bring 1 cup water and 1/2 cup long-grain brown rice to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer at the lowest bubble until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

NUTRITION

Per serving: 395 calories; 17 g fat ( 5 g sat , 5 g mono ); 20 mg cholesterol; 52 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 14 g protein; 9 g fiber; 459 mg sodium; 774 mg potassium.




Vegetarian Reubens with Russian Dressing


Vegetarian Reubens with Russian Dressing

INGREDIENTS

RUSSIAN DRESSING

·         2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
·         2 teaspoons ketchup
·         2 teaspoons chopped capers
·         1 teaspoon chopped pickle, or relish

SANDWICHES

·         3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
·         1 small red onion, thinly sliced
·         1 cup sliced mushrooms
·         5 cups baby spinach
·         Freshly ground pepper, to taste
·         4 slices rye bread
·         1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese, such as Jarlsberg Lite or Alpine Lace (2 ounces)
·         1/2 cup sauerkraut

PREPARATION

1.     Prepare Russian dressing: Whisk mayonnaise and ketchup in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in capers and pickle (or relish).
2.     To prepare sandwiches: Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until it has wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate.
3.     Coat the pan with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and return to medium heat. Add the bread; divide cheese equally among the slices. Divide sauerkraut between 2 slices and divide the spinach mixture between the other 2 slices; cook until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer sandwich halves to a cutting board. Divide the dressing between the spinach halves. Carefully place the sauerkraut halves on top. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

TIPS & NOTES

·         Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the dressing (Step 1) for up to 2 days.

NUTRITION

Per serving: 380 calories; 16 g fat ( 3 g sat , 7 g mono ); 15 mg cholesterol; 44 g carbohydrates; 16 gprotein; 7 g fiber; 931 mg sodium; 364 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (80% daily value), Vitamin C (45% dv), Calcium (40% dv), Iron (25% dv).
Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 1/2 vegetable, 1 lean protein, 2 1/2 fat

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ugh.

I am so behind. But, I promise I will be posting VERY soon!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Choreography!

"
Ok so the universe is finally pointing me in the right direction...  It has been a major goal of mine to understand the elements of dance well enough to choreograph beautiful pieces.  The "rules" are fairly universal, but there are a few tweaks for hoop/prop dance. 

1) Week one-
                a) Pick out a song.
                      i) I think the audience’s attention tends to wander after 3 minutes or so.... 
                b) Write down any descriptive words that come to mind when listening to the song.
                      i) Mood, speed, story, feelings, etc.
2) Week two-
                a) Listen to the song, then freestyle to it.
                      i) do this at least once a day
                      ii) Note anything that really "clicked"
3) Week three-
                 a) Write out the time signatures for the song. 
                       i) Counts, beats, transitions, chorus, apex, etc.
                 b) Write what you want your dance to portray:
                       i) story- lesson- etc
                       ii) Other Primary Elements- prop use (led, fire, other toys.) overall speed and feel, how
                           much space to take up, will the dancer/s connect with the audience/ each other
                           What shapes do you want to create?
                       iii) Secondary Elements- Costume, Lighting, background, etc.
4) Week four-
                  a) Use the Transitions as opportunities to move around the stage, or stay still (in the case
                      of 2+ hoopers, this is the perfect time to make different formations, or break off into
                      duets, solos, group, etc.)
                  b) Capture the audience’s attention with something stellar within 20 seconds!!!! No
                      kidding, by then they have already formed an opinion about if they’re going to pay  
                      attention or not!
                  c) Make sure you include movement that stays still, and some that moves, some that takes
                      up a little space, and some that takes up a lot of space, some up high, some down low.
                     (This can be applied to group formations too! <3)
                  d) Include different types of tricks and dance elements (isos, on body, tosses, etc. and for
                     dance: Jumps, turns, pleas, etc.)
                  e) Choreographing group hoop dances can become tricky as they can be distracting and
                      chaotic in the wrong way... so stay on beet, create shapes, take turns, and when you’re
                      doing different things at the same time, analyze them well to make sure they are
                      complementary!
                

                 f) Write down the choreography with the counts as you go. 
                           I) Include facial expressions and energy (ex: excited and sharp) in the notes for the
                               section :)
                           ii) Nothing is final, you can always refine, so don’t be to analytical about your
                               choices.
                  g) NEVER underestimate the importance of arm, hand, feet, and head technique and that       
                      whole group doing these the same.
5) Week Five-
                  a) Learn/ teach it
                            I) take it a section at a time. Practice every section like 5 times before moving on.
                            ii) Introduce the most difficult section first so that you can practice it longer.
                  b) I like to mark where people stand/ formations and practice that before adding
                      the dance/hoop elements.
6) Week Six-
                  a) PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
                  b) Make any adjustments necessary
                  c) Recording and reviewing is never a bad idea :)

7) Week Seven-
                  a) A couple dress/ technical (lights, stage, etc.) rehearsals.
                  b) Give group itinerary, driving directions (if, for some reason they did not get it at
                      rehearsal) and Check list of items to bring
                           i) Don’t forget to include hoops, snacks, and backup music!
                  c) Voala! From seed to fruit your dance manifested.


I hope this helps! <3 Namaste"


This was the second blog post I took from Hoop City. :D

Hooping meets Meditation

Sarah Ann Hurwitz is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Professional Hooper that I met on facebook and she recently got me interested in Hoop City: A Place For Hoopers, an online community of hula hoopers. I wanted to share a couple of blog entries that I found profoundly interesting. 


"
I would like to offer a basic technique for a hooping meditation.

Meditation reduces stress, helps put your thoughts in order, restores energy, and connects you to your higher intentions. The benefits of meditation can be felt in as little as five minutes but for the best results try to set aside thirty minutes to an hour for this practice.

Find a quiet place where you can practice undisturbed, somewhere that you can relax. If you would like, stage the meditation area a little. Straighten up, light a candle, whatever you feel will make the space special.

Lets begin...

Sit or stand in a comfortable position on the inside of your hoop. Close your eyes and breath through your nose.

Bring your attention to your breath. Not to change it. Just to observe it.

Make the decision right now to focus fully on your breath.

When your thoughts wander, which they will, gently re-direct them back to your breath.

Over and over again.

Feel the coolness of the air as it enters your nose, flows down your throat, and fills your lungs.

Feel the warmth of the breath as it leaves.

Listen to the rhythm of your breath, how long it takes. Is it smooth and strong, or broken?

What part of your lungs are receiving the breath? Do you feel the upper lungs filling? Maybe you feel the breath

draw all the way down into the belly?

Now a simple breathing practice; Three part breathing.

Inhale one third of your breath into your abdomen feeling it rise.

Pause and hold.

Continue the next third of the breath by drawing air into your rib cage expanding the ribs out in all four directions.

Pause and hold.

Draw the last third of your breath into the clavicle area/ the upper lobes of your lungs until you are completely full of air..

Pause and hold. RELAX around the sensation of being full. Relax your face, your neck, and your shoulders. FEEL the muscles between your ribs stretching, increasing your lung capacity.

Exhale slowly and evenly.

First from the top of the chest.

Continue to empty the chest feeling the ribs draw back together.

Finally feeling the lower lobes of the lungs empty as the belly button draws inwards and up towards the spine.

Exhale completely, push the remainder of the air out of your lungs.

Pause and hold. RELAX around the sensation of being empty.

Continue this practice for at least three more rounds.

YOUR LIFE BREATH. CONSIDER THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BREATHING. IF YOU WERE UNDER WATER, IT WOULD REALLY MATTER TO YOU.

At the end of your last round, let the practice drop off.

Just observe the natural rhythm of your breath without trying to control it.

( At this point in the practice, whether you keep your eyes closed or open, but focused on the hoop. is up to you. )

Begin to hoop, Something simple...

Next, bring your attention to your senses. Taste, Touch, Feel, Hear, and See. Picture your senses as mirrors, a

way to perceive the wold around you.

Take these mirrors and turn them inward.

Allow the hoop to be included, as an extension of yourself.

As the mirrors (senses) turn inward you will Taste, Touch, Feel, Hear, and See what is inside YOU. Set an intention for your practice...

It could be anything... A good example is to focus on LOVE..... When you inhale, imagine the qualities

associated with receiving love.... When you exhale, focus on the qualities of giving or being love, etc.

Continue the breath/intention practice.

Allow yourself to be completely present with the practice.

Again, each time your mind wanders, return you're attention to your breath. Continue to link your intention to

the natural rhythm of your breath.

Feel the movement of the hoop against your body and freely follow the directions of the hoop.

Notice how the breath supports your movements.

As you inhale, the breath helps you feel lighter and expand.

As you exhale, you will feel added strength and support.

Inhale as you reach up or out.

Exhale as you contract.

Continue this for some time....

NAMASTE




Eventually, with practice you're mind will be silent. This is the goal. To be fully present in the moment without
latent impressions. You are no longer judging or creating agreements with yourself. The cessation of the fluctuations of the mind opens you up to infinite possibilities.

As with all things, find your balance between what we create and what we experience. When we meditate, our minds are still. Residing in a peaceful and universal nature. It binds us together. When we are thinking; we are creating our experience through our individual body.

Focusing on a particular task is what evolves us and strengthens our minds. Take the time to refine both dynamics of awareness separately so that together, they can be stronger. (Thinking, and creating versus simply witnessing.)

Sarah Ann Hurwitz
Certified Yoga Instructor and Professional Hooper


*Please consider proper citation for any use of this and any entry. The Karmic Universe frowns upon plagiarism."