The weekend marked the one year anniversary since I picked up the plastic circle that would forever change the way I see the world.
Photo credit: HoopCity.ca
Many would refer to this object as a hula hoop. A hip, shimmying, plastic-fantastic, twirly-toy that whips about the waist and neck.
Only the plastic circles of today are made from far greater synthetic materials such as, high-density, polyethylene and polypropylene high water pressure pipes. Additionally, they offer an infinite amount of possibility in terms of what you can do with "a circle for kids" now.
Didn't catch the reference?
Well then, I invite you to enjoy this scene about inventing the hula hoop straight out of the Coen Brothers screwball comedy, The Hudsucker Proxy.
Today's hoops are certainly not the hula hoops you played with as a child, and I have to agree with the naysayers who believe that hooping is ridiculous.
It's ridiculous good fun, and it's kept me sane and well focused in all areas of my topsy-turvy life for a year now.
Plus it's a brilliant workout!
Far more fun than running in place to Nowhereville on a treadmill. Blecch.
The doctors used to write me endless prescriptions for Oxcarbazepine, Citalopram, Zolpidem Tartrates, and other unpronouncables to tend to that which ailed me. For I was a sad girl, heartbroken, well on my way to joblessness, and popping pills was to be my saving grace.
All I ever really needed was a hoopstart to find my confidence and passions again. In doing so, I've come to realize that my passions are endless. I'm drawn to drawing, I long to plink away at my 88 piano keys, I'm fascinated with the learning process of artisanal cheesemaking, I fell in love with playing with fire, took to yoga and bellydancing, winemaking, getting my motorcycle license, and I rediscovered my love for the written word.
I also really, really, really love to get my hoop on.
There doesn't seem to be enough time to do all that there is to do these days.
I'm off of every last one of those multicolored tablets now. Completely drug free, and I plan to stay this way.
I'd like to publicly thank my Hoopmaster teacher Miss Valentina Unity, Queen of the Hoop, at this time for introducing me to a practice that would forever change me as a human being. One that allowed me to dance with a freedom I had never known, to retreat from former boundaries, and to break through approaching barriers.
Photo credit: Matt Hohlfeld
Thank you Unity, for showing me a skill which has injected a relentless confidence within me, a practice which has allowed me abandon my inhibitions. One which has fiercely stirred up the courage within me to pursue buried passions, find new ones, and to revisit the path leading straight to my dreams.
I'd also like to graciously thank the beautiful humans I've met along the way, for allowing me to become a part of your very beautiful and diversified community.
I've never been more fit, more healthy, more free, more happy, nor more sane.
...and for any naysayers who think that hooping is silly and not a real workout, I encourage you to watch this video of the fierce, Miss Brecken Rivara here to the very end.
This is hooping as we know it today, and trust me when I say it's the most fun you'll ever have burning fat, strengthening muscles, and toning your center core.
It's also the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
Photo credit: Heather Van Buren
Photo credit: HoopCity.ca
Photo credit: HoopCity.ca
Photo credit: Sarah Mayer
Whatever moves you,
Find your bliss, realize your life's full potential, banish your fears, give yourself permission to follow your dreams, abandon self-doubt, find the thing that makes you jump out of bed in the morning, find what it is that makes you feel alive, and love yourself along the way.
I've been following additional pursuits of interest these days, fetching things such as, coaxing my firey passion to learn by studying cheese, and pursuing a higher education in the Business of Wine.
No joke, there's a really-real wine school around these parts. I am more than pleased to be one of the first students enrolled in the revamped program offered at San Diego State University at the moment, one specializing in helping students to uncork new careers.
The best part?
Wine tasting during class.
After all those years of Forensic Chemistry, Biology, Criminal Evidence, and Report Writing lectures, I finally found a classroom perfectly suited to my needs. I honestly can't seem to figure out why I just didn't study wine the first go around.
Had someone told me several years ago that I'd be enrolled in a new program again as a student, I would have choked on my laughter. Yet, here I am choking on my own words, while devouring all that there is to learn from the fascinating world of fine wines.
• the chatty aromas of the fruit driven Rieslings • the bright, golden apple colors of the Sancerre varietals
• the distinct pebbly, minerality from a classic Bordeaux
• the complex flavor changes in Gerwurtztraminers
• the earthy, cedarbox taste of a Red Cotes Du Rhone
• the oaky, sweet notes of sarsaparilla from an aged Grenache
• the zesty smell of apricots, white peaches, tangerine and white flowers in an Albarino
• the effervescent bubbly of tarty lemon from a vinho verde
• the tear stains on the glass of a black fruited Malbec
I've never used so many descriptors and adjectives, and I for one am full of them!
Of course the educational program wouldn't be complete without a trip to Temecula for hands on time with the winemaking process.
These grapes were removed from this batch and were ours for the taking. I've never had a sweeter, more delicious tasting grape. Never.
This is quite likely due to the fact that I've never had a wine infused grape in all my days.
You couldn't write this story if you tried, it's so far fetched. The headlines would read something to the effect of... "Forensic Scientist Gone Wackadoodle, Leaves Glamorous Career to Study Wine and Cheese!".
...and I couldn't be happier.
Even with the whole, heaping amount of studying there is to do before my exam next Tuesday.
Because at the end of the day, I quite like the burgundy stains on my notebooks.
Off to study now, and by study I mean "hit up a wine bar".
I blame Annel and Drew, the delightful, the charming, the talented, the delicious foodmaking dream duo for my recent decrease in 401k contributions.
These two have wondertwin power-activated their foodie know-hows to create Annel and Drew's Kitchen which has dreamed up some of the best eats this city has to offer. Using only locally grown, hand-picked, organic produce from Suzie's Farm, Annel & Drew are a welcome mainstay to Wednesday eve good eats.
...and the retirement?
You see, I'm investing in my general well-being and happiness these days. This imparts bestowing my stomach generous doses of absolute deliciousness, which in turn has led the way to the Ocean Beach Certified Farmer's Market, and more specifically, this kiosk each Wednesday night for tasty bites and toothsome fodder.
Come midweek, many a fine folk find themselves around these parts to partake in the very same deliciousness that I seek. Be it with the specialty food vendors including crepes, lobster street tacos, torpastas, local honeys, vegan delights, hummus, ginger beverages, sweet caramel apples, fresh produce and enough free samples that you may just have to skip dinner.
You may even find yourself take to streets dancing while accompanied by the local musicians who will treat your ears to music goodness.
You mustn't forget to scoop up a handful of flowers and a massive bag of Kettle Korn on your way out for sharing with the loved ones.
Ah yes, living a life that's rich with such happy sanctions now, such as good company and delicious food is a commitment I've made to myself. I am after all, doing more of what I want and less of what responsibility has suggested for me these days. I've never been happier.
Back to the big ticket sandwich.
Without fail, I consistently make my way down to Newport Avenue (just four blocks away from my lilypad), to this post that needs little distinction other that a folded chalkboard menu and a nose to lead the way.
The dream team loyally makes a lovely camp here to feed the hungry masses of the many market-goers, myself included.
Here, you'll find yourself religiously shelling out ten bucks for their Spiedie sandwich offering. Served with your choice of hormone-free meat (my favorite being lamb), then bathed in a heavenly marinade, toasted spices, lemon zesty goodness, garlic, is skewered then grilled to perfection and topped with a housemade cucumber dill yogurt sauce.
It doesn't end there, the goods are served on a fresh-baked, crusty, Sicilian style bread and adorned with local, organic baby greens, heirlooms, onions and avocado.
*I hope you can forgive the gloating*
Who needs a side of french fries with these tasty offerings of grilled balsamic artichokes?
Bright, fresh and dee-vinetastic.
This must be the food of the gods and goddesses. I'll be back next Wednesday, and the next, minus a $10 deduction from my life savings with each passing visit, thereby reducing my retirement funds altogether.
So, maybe I'll be destitute in my late years. Will it be worth it?
I bet they could raise their price by $15 dollars, tell me to go to hell (they wouldn't!), and I'd probably still show up wide-eyed, with a smug grin about my face asking for another hit of the spidie sandwich please.
Oh, how I do love a good seaside market in this little slice of paradise.