I finished up the summer season by preforming at one of my favorite events/venues, a large annual luau held in Puyallup.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that performance season is over (Halloween, Equinox, Solstice, First Night all fabulous fire opportunities), this was just the last hurrah of summer (and so much fun).
Photo below is courtesy of Sharon Uhlig of Third Eye Imaging… (I love how she captured the ring of fire)
I’ve added a couple of new toys tools to the mix, one of my favorites being the windfire rings (I just love something that I can toss into the air on fire
Mickie Smith got some good video, so I was able to update my promo video. I still need to get someone to shoot video of the palm torch and levi wand and would like some video with the staff and hoop taken when it’s darker out (big thanks to Zach Ouellette for the video of those that I do have)
If anyone wants to give my YouTube video some love by watching it on the site and/or providing a link so that it moves up in the search engine rankings, that would be awesome.
The year has been off to a fiery start despite less than perfect weather and two surgeries.
The first of course was First Night where we rang in the new year by burning the old year in effigy “burn bunny burn” and lighting up the new year.
Several of us fire danced including my good friend and mentor Deanna Riley, Jodie Smalley and David Roman who breathed some amazing plumes of fire.
Last Saturday night, I was honored to have been asked to perform at the Tacoma Glass Blowing Studio to help celebrate their 5 year anniversary. It was a great crowd and a wonderful event.
I received an invitation for a private audition for America’s Got Talent when they came to Seattle. I was still down from surgery so it was out of the question. While being honored to have been sought out and invited, talent shows really aren’t my thing so I wasn’t disappointed; luckily Deanna was there to represent Tacoma and I’m sure she did us proud.
Since I keep adding new fire toys (errr.. make that tools) to my repertoire, I put together a new promo video with the video clips I had. (a sad lot consisting of: me not being in costume, off my game, camera folks trying to get artsy with bad angles) Oddly enough, a lot of what ended up being useable was cell phone video.
I’m making a point this summer to have folks at performances with real video cameras and to stage some video shoots in costume, but for now, this is an improvement over the last one.
This update is so random, I’m not even tagging it “tacoma” to show up on feedtacoma.com.
I’ve been terribly remiss about blogging and sending email updates to my non-blog reading friends; it’s not that I haven’t been doing anything, it’s that I’ve been so stinking busy, I haven’t had time to update. [BAD Lisa]
I’ve been busy with the day job, the magazine gig and of course, the fire spinning.
I’m performing on Friday night for what promises to be a very fun all girl 50th Birthday party where I’ll get to spin fire on the beach and enjoy the company of very cool women, good food and cocktails.
I realized that I didn’t have any business cards that didn’t have outdated contact info and didn’t have time to print any new ones up, so after I ordered some which now include photography, writing and fire spinning (which won’t arrive in time for Friday) I just edited an image, added some text and got them printed up as wallet size photos.
*dear stalkers-don’t get excited; this is a googlevoice number that does NOT ring to my phone and on which I can block you.
The garden is doing well, although I’m not certain when I’ll be able to take my peppers out of the greenhouse. If it wasn’t for having heat mats and grow lights in the basement, a greenhouse and wall-o-water insulators, I would not have tomatoes this year.
Here is the Juliet tomato (parent to the grape tomato) I started from seed in the basement.
I’m super excited about the asparagus bed. Anyone who has ever been over here in the summer, knows how much I like to grill salmon and asparagus. I have to leave the plants alone this year to let them establish. Since they are already two year old crowns, I can start harvesting next year. It is taking all the self control I have not to snap off some tasty spears.
The Liberty and Braeburn apple trees are blooming (if the SummerRed doesn’t bloom soon, I’d best hope for a neighbor growing a pollinator-wouldn’t a late summer bearing variety bloom before the varieties that ripen later?)
It looks to be a good year for blueberries
The cold wet winter and spring seem to have been good for the cherries. (note to self, get bird netting)
Speaking of cherries, the Kwanzan flowering cherries I planted in the front yard are blooming.
The hard work I put in planting 704 flower bulbs sure paid off, as soon as the daffodils were done, the tulips took over.
A VERY special treat have been the stunning parrot tulips I planted in honor of my dear friend Karen who lost her brave battle with cancer last December.
The chickens are fat, sassy and naughty. As you can see, MaryAnn has gotten into the garden area.
As you can see from the following video, the chicken round ups are becoming rather routine.
I did my second burn. I got braver this time and included the buzz saw (requires a wrap around the hands to avoid hitting the face) and even spun a butterfly behind my head) I was also finally confident enough to do a weave turns with fire. Now I need to learn a new trick or two and to work on choreography for my next burn.
I also did a 2nd burn just for fun and to play around. I hit myself a couple of times but since Ted our fuel guy had done such a good job squeezing the excess fuel out of my poi, there was no concern about lighting my cotton clothing on fire.
Special thanks also go to Jon our safety guy without whom I would not have felt comfortable attempting a move behind my head for the first time.
And for the comedy relief portion of the evening, I actually hit myself in the crotch with one of the flaming poi.
It was also the night that I decided to pop my fire cherry and light up the cathedral fire poi.
It had only been 31 days since my first time ever spinning poi. That may sound like a lot of days, but when you consider that the weather was horrid (deep freezes, snow, wind storms, hail, freezing rain) there were virtually no days to practice outdoors (ceilings, doorways and furniture are quite limiting to free artistic expression) so I was a bit nervous about scheduling something so soon. My fire mentors assured me that they thought I would do fine as long as I stuck to moves I was very comfortable with. (I had no intention of any behind the head moves
We had an awesome safety crew including Michelle’s husband Jon and Becki’s son Marshall. We had wet towels, a fire blanket, an extinguisher and wet towels. There were also well defined fueling and performance/lighting areas and lots of spotters all the way around the spinners at all times to alert them if they caught on fire. Two folks did catch fire, but the spotters were on it and they were able to pat themselves out without even stopping their performances. (the safety team was at the ready if need be, but they weren’t needed) I’m quite pleased to say that I did not catch myself on fire.
So I covered up head to toe in cotton because it doesn’t ignite like synthetic fabrics which also melt, adhere to your skin and cause really nasty burns. (sexy eh?) and volunteered to go first.
Here I am about ready to “get lit”
and away… we go…
For little poi, they flamed up pretty big
Here’s the Video of my first “burn” for those who haven’t seen it.
And yes, I made a bunch of mistakes and even hit myself once (but since the excess fuel had been squeezed out of them and I was wearing cotton, my shirt did not ignite) but it sure was a lot better than this… my first ever attempt… (when I beat the crap out of myself the whole time and actually hit myself in the face)
Yesterday, I hosted my first (hopefully of many) “Stitch and Bitch” gathering at my home. (more info on that for anyone who is interested later on in this post)
One of the many things I’ve been wanting to learn to do is to knit.
Knitting is not just for old ladies; as a matter of fact, most of my friends who knit are marathoners, triathletes, cyclists and backpackers. They are pretty darn bad ass. (and if you tell them otherwise, I’m not responsible for where they might put their needles
I started to learn a couple of years ago, but one evening when I was over at my best friend’s house, I reached over to grab my knitting bag, and discovered that her bad boy cats had peed all over my book and yarn.
I never bothered to replace them, life happened and my short attempt at learning was nearly forgotten.
Several years later, sitting here in my 100 year old house on Tacoma’s historic Hilltop (no, it’s NOT “upper Tacoma-never has been-never will be) I decided that it would be really nice to sit in my leather recliner in front of the fire and knit on winter nights.
*gratuitous yule log photo
My friend and neighbor F, came over to teach me and my other friend A has helped as well (they tag teamed me at Thanksgiving)
Since my BadKitty does not pee on things, I’ve managed to get a lot farther that in my previous attempt.
Unfortunately, we are having to “negotiate’ the use of one of my yarn baskets. I don’t put yarn in it, she puts her butt in it and I get to keep the flesh on my hands/arms and all of my digits.
I started out with a basic knit stitch and worked on that until I could get even tension.
Then I started adding purl stitches; this is my first practice piece.
I’m going to practice the knit three, purl three a bit more, before using this soft sexy yarn to make a wonderful scarf. If I’m going to mess up and have to pull out stitches, I’d rather do it on my cheap practice yarn.
After scoring a fabulous deal on a 100 year old Singer treadle/peddle sewing machine at Goodwill, I started thinking about getting a spinning wheel that would fit into this old house nicely. I scored a great deal on a Kromski Prelude, which you can see in the foreground of this photo (the lighter colored wheel in the back is my friend’s Ashford Traveler).
Of course, F insists that I learn to draft on a drop spindle first (although we did play with my wheel over Thanksgiving)
I actually made yarn. (once I get a full spindle, I can dye and ply it)
Yesterday, I hosted my first (hopefully of many) “Stitch and Bitch”. It’s rough to clear people’s schedules on a Sunday this closes to Christmas, Solstice and in the middle of Hanukkah, but three of my friends came over, and we had a blast knitting, crocheting and spinning.
I’m hoping that yesterday’s stitch and bitch we be a regular event. Since people’s schedules are different, and many of us are busy on weekends, it won’t always be on a Sunday (I think the next one may be on a Monday evening)
If you would like to learn, mentor or just hang out and share food, drink and friendship while working on fiber art/craft projects (oh and to fondle yarn) let me know; I can add you to the Facebook group (I HATE that Facebook doesn’t allow you to “invite” you have to add someone with or without their permission) and/or put you on my email list to let you know when we’ll be gathering. And yes, men are welcome if they’re interested.
We will be meeting mostly on the Hilltop, but we’ve already had one person from South Carolina join the Facebook group because she wants to chat fiber stuff (that and I think she also wanted to list “Stich and Bitch” as one of her groups
My Tacoma-Pierce County YMCA adventure continues.
Because my body just didn’t hurt enough from the masters swim class last night, I decided to spin (OK, due to licensing issues, the YMCA has to call it “group cycling” but we all know what high intensity cycling done to music on spin bikes is, right?)
I had a Harmon Bike Club meeting tonight (just how many bike clubs do I belong to? 4?) to kick off the Courage Classic and the St Leo’s food bank ride so I had to do something earlier than the offering at the downtown Y.
I realized that I can go to any Y and that the Morgan Family Y on Pearl St is only 4 miles from my house. I checked their schedule and there was a spin class at 4:30-PERFECT! I’m kind of spoiled by having the downtown Y (which is 15 and over only) so close (a mile, if that) and was wondering what the family one would be like.
The locker rooms were split between upstairs and downstairs, with the downstairs filled with squealing kids getting ready to swim and the upstairs being very much like “my” Y downtown, 15 and over only.
This Y was older, but well maintained and full of interesting things including an indoor climbing area.
But back to the task at hand.
Even though I’ve ridden century and double century rides, I’ve been extremely intimidated to try spin. Afraid that I’m too out of shape (especially at this time of year) and wouldn’t be able keep up.
But everyone I know that takes spin classes in the winter totally rocks the hills come spring and I know I need to get back on my training. (I’ve been a slug) Spin is the way to do it when days are short and torrential downpours and ice are making the roads unsuitable for outdoor riding.
I showed up 10 minutes early (as requested for first timers) so that the instructor (Denise who was awesome) could help me set up the bike the first time. I set it up just like I set up my road bike so that was a no brainer.
The critical thing to learn about a spin bike is that they have weighted fly wheels and you can’t just stop them by stopping pedaling. They have a break lever down near the tension knob.
I had fully intended to stay in the far back so as not to draw attention to my out of shapeness and lack of spin juju, but another woman in the class told me to get right up front with her. (she was rehabbing an injured knee) The guy on the other side of me was an instructor, so the front and center row ran the gamut.
We did a warm up and then did “hills” (increasing the tension according to our own comfort/fitness/challenge level) and had the choice to stand up on the pedals or not (when riding hills on my bike, I tend to “sit and spin”. We also did sprints, a long “hill” increasing our grade 6 times over the course of the hill. We pedaled for cadence of 80-110 rpm; I was averaging a bit over 100.
I surprised myself not only by finishing the workout, but by really cranking the tension on the hill climbs, standing up and going for it.
Denice was awesome and made sure than everyone was comfortable and knew that at any time they could reduce tension or speed.
It was so NOT intimidating. There are no neon lights over your head telling people what your tension is set to or how hard you are working.
The music was fun, the instructor was fun and the whole workout was GREAT!
I could feel the burn during the workout but my legs feel great now (we’ll see how they feel tomorrow)
This will help me with cardio and hill climbing, but is obviously no substitute for long rides (several hours) to build my lactic acid threshold, help my muscles burn fat instead of glucose and build endurance for 100+ mile rides in the summer.
I can’t believe I didn’t suck it up and try it before now.
Tomorrow is my 2nd masters swim class.
Spin Tues-Thurs, Master Swim Mon-Wed. I need to get some weight training in there and probably start running at work at lunch as well as longer runs on weekends.
If I can keep this up, I’m going to be an animal (or at least not suck) by the time triathlon season starts. And maybe I’ll get this middle aged winter pudge off of me. (and hopefully not put it back on next winter)
Oh, one of the spinning websites I checked said 40 minutes at a 80-100 rpm cadence equals 15-20 miles, and I averaged 100, I’m giving myself 18 miles towards my Frostbite Falls goal.