The biggest thing we have been up to lately is giving Tantra classes. Tantra is a type of yoga and breathing practice that uses our bodies’ energy to create amazing results: better love life, greater connection with others, more energy, intuition, and clarity are just some of the benefits we have already received. In addition, Melanie and I have also had very profound spiritual experiences with this practice, so we have dedicated ourselves to teaching these amazing techniques to others. I have been working with Ipsalu Tantra International, ipsalutantra.org, for the last year to develop these classes and after teaching 6 of them in the last two months have had a resounding success so far.
Melanie has been focused on her new Chakra garden, dancing, and pets. For exercise, we are always trying to find time to do more than walk dogs and occasionally swim. We have been exploring Yoga again; open to suggestions up North if you have a studio you recommend. Our greatest passion of course is travel and parties, which we have done quite a bit of as well. On July 4th, we celebrated at a new friend's home with vegan BBQ, a bouncy castle, and great conversation. I gave a girl there a memorable dance for her birthday party.
We have also done quite a bit of swimming. For water holes this summer, we swam with three dogs and friends at Blue Hole in Georgetown. We also cliff dived there and at Krause Springs, where we also swam and kissed in a cave and under a waterfall. We also watched an elusive Ringtail play while we traipsed through the cliffs and gardens. We often go to Hippie Hollow at Travis lake, and even discovered a friend’s secret cove there that has its own hot tub, rope swing, and slide in a private secluded area.
We then left on a great Northern Excursion. Left on a trip to Colorado with Melanie’s folks. We stopped at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which has the second largest canyon in the US. We drove through a cool sideways lightning storm with no thunder or rain into a torrential downpour where I couldn't see more than 5' in front of me. We even had a semi jackknifing backwards down the middle of the freeway that I had to swerve around, to avoid getting squashed. What excitement!!
We next visited Manitou Springs castle and art district, walked among the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, and did a little gambling in Cripple Creek. Cripple Creek was the greatest gold mine area in the U.S.; they found an estimated $8 billion worth of gold in those mines. We later drove through South Park and the picturesque scenery of the Rocky Mountains, staying in Fraser, CO. for a week. In the Rockies we explored cute tourist towns like Grand Lake, Winter Park, Breckenridge, Estes Park, Central City, New Castle, etc.
In the wilds of the Rocky Mountain National Park, we saw tons of animals including wild turkeys, marmots, chipmunks, antelope, pika, bunnies, lizards, a coyote, and of course beaver. We frolicked with a bunch of deer, elk, and moose. We walked a few miles on each side of the continental divide, and were amazed how different the terrain was. We watched duck antics at Lilly Lake and then gambled at Blackhawk where we won $50 and four free buffets with lobster and crab. We even ran into a couple of good friends that were also on vacation.
In Wyoming, we explored the Cheyenne visitor center, which was practically a museum, and watched a fireman parade. We spelunked the Rainbow Cave, and Wind Cave National Monument and Park (well really, this time we just did the walking tours). At Custer State Park, on three different days we came upon a herd of 300 or so buffalo in a valley crossing our road and spent a fascinating hour or so watching them play, grunt, charge, surround our car, stick their tongues out, growl, and try to get it on. We also watched lots of mule deer, antelope, prairie dogs, birds, rabbits, and wild burros here. Then we climbed to and through Cathedral Spires rock formations.
In South Dakota, we also witnessed the laser light show at Crazy Horse Memorial, a vision in progress for Native Americans (hospital, school, museum, etc.) and saw the much smaller Mt. Rushmore. In Custer, we had raspberry rhubarb jalapeño pie at the Purple Restaurant, which looks like Melanie decorated it. Driving East we visited the world famous Wall Drug store where we ate buffalo dogs, made cheesy photos, and watched displays like the animated T-Rex. In the Badlands National Park, we saw bighorn sheep nestled in their crumbly canyons.
Finally, made it back to Austin in time to go to our Decompression Party. The Afterburner party (wind down from Flipside) included naughty costumes and was wild fun. Our host’s great home had a hot tub, massage table, and good food. Melanie and I gave spontaneous dancing lessons. We also had a wonderful massage circle (8-10 folks massaging one person for 15 minutes, then rotating). We have ended up having quite a few parties here lately. At another party, Melanie and I demonstrated various massage techniques. We connected with many new friends and some of our past friends in new ways. And somehow, everyone always eventually ends up in the hot tub.
We ended up going back to Krause Springs to camp over night since OrFunner was sold out. We were lucky enough to be camping right next to other Burners that hosted a “Super Sexy Disco Party” under the stars. They had a music set up, laser lights, glowing poi, rainbow body suits and wigs. We love Burners, who else goes camping with all this stuff. Lots of fun included a quick comedy show I created, magical romance under the Waterfall, and communing with nature at a level we have never done before. We also celebrated a friend’s birthday party there with Drunk history lessons. Then, we romped around and danced outdoors till past dawn. We also made new friends that have a Catamaran/Yacht. They hosted a great party with lots of swimming, food, and fun folks. It was very beautiful on the water under the moonlight and at times felt like we were in a romance novel.
In August, we visited San Antonio for our “cousin’s” 95th B-day party. Had a nice time visiting with all of Melanie’s extended family. We were supposed to go to Inks Lake and Longhorn caverns, but again got postponed from the rain. So we had a fun camp out party in our house mainly watching strange videos, doing Improv, and having lots of laughs.
In September, we met up with my sister’s family in Dallas and with some family friends, camped at Robber’s Cave in Oklahoma. We took all four of our doggies, who had a fantastic time (if a bit barky at times from all the strange sights, sounds, and smells). Over two nights, we cooked out over a fire, told ghost stories, sang camp fire songs, played silly games, and searched the woods for critters. We encountered a family of armadillos, baby screech owls crying all night, flying squirrels, a white skunk, and other critters. They had a nature center, and beautiful lake we swam in, and a fun horseback ride that was only $30 for an hour and a quarter. Got lots of hiking in, and am just now trying to get back in the swing of things back home.