Sunday, May 21, 2017

Playing catch up....

I am so having a hard time concentrating on writing this post!  I've been working on it for hours!  I swear there has been 200 distractions, from birthday texts (for the cat!!) to phone calls, from Facebook to Itunes, from a cat wanting attention to the dog not knowing what he wants......and that's just been this evening!

Wow - I haven't posted since my Reflections post?  Sheesh.  

Mother's Day was nice - We did our usual Sunday brunch, then I suggested to Randy, since he didn't get me anything that we go to a greenhouse to get a new tree for the spot where we had to old cherry tree taken out.  And I could get a hanging basket for my mom. 
So we ended up with another cherry tree, since the maples I was looking at would get too big.  This one is a sweet cherry, so maybe we'll actually get to eat some!
And I couldn't pass up a candy corn plant!  
If I was in a warmer zone, this could go outside, but it won't survive Michigan winters, so it'll be an indoor plant. 
Telly's has some cool stuff in their fairy garden section, so I got this bobble-head skeleton for my ceme-terrarium. 
My fur-babies. 
Daisy is 2 today!  
(Well, yesterday since I started this post before midnight!)

Saturday before Mother's Day was the last dance competition of the season - whew!  It was a busy day, since it was just the one day and final awards were scheduled for 3:45pm! 

Angel's first dance was the production that was the last number of the morning (all the beginner & intermediate levels) session which meant the afternoon was crazy busy with costume & hair changes! 
These first 2 were snagged off the Dance Force Facebook page.
 Clue - Production
Love that they got the ending pose, complete with the "victim" in mid fall! 
They got a High Gold / 1st place.
 Where Feet May Fail - Lyrical
High Gold
their teacher threatened to kick their butts because they did so much better in jazz with mostly the same girls!
Three - Angel's solo
High Gold
This was the first time she's ever danced barefoot!  The stage was really slippery and we saw quite a few kids slip & fall.  It was funny that after the last comp, Angel told me her teacher wanted to know if I was OK with her going without tights & wearing different shoes for this one, since the fishnets & jazz shoes were not "working".  Then same thing with going completely without once we got here.  Hell, if Gabby thinks it better to go without, then go without!!  
Girl Power - hiphop line
Platinum / Division Highest Point for HipHop / 1st Place
and a special "Power" award from the judges because it stood out to them.

We shared a dressing room with a team from Detroit and they were really impressed with our hiphop.  They had some good small group routines, but they were too "girly".  Our hiphop tends to be gritty & tough.  
They Don't Really Care About Us - tap
High Gold / 3rd Place
Final Song - jazz
Platinum / Division High Point for Jazz / 1st Place

....and I learned that colleges send out scouts to dance competitions like they do for football & baseball games!  Angel, Sarah & Lauren all got invitations to try out for the University of Detroit Mercy dance team!  
I'm still trying to figure this out.... they must have been watched for a while.  Angel texted me a picture of the business card from the stage before awards and the only dance any of them had done was Clue that they had just finished.  And there are 30 girls on stage during that!  And the fact that all 3 of them are in the position to be able to try out - meaning Angel & Sarah have already graduated high school and Lauren is a senior....
But anyhooo, she respectfully declined, since UDM didn't have any programs she was interested in, and she didn't want to have to drive all the way into downtown Detroit for classes anyway.  
But still - how awesome is that??

We also had official studio pics done.  I'm going to be out of town late next week, and I bet that's when they'll arrive, dammit.  They got some pretty good ones, like usual.  I'm glad I looked closer at the packages and realized I was able to get 2 poses in an 8x10 instead of just one because I'm going to love the picture in her Miss Peacock costume!  

Some randomness....
Angel drove us to that competition, which felt really weird, but my car was in the shop.  We picked it up that evening and I noticed for the first time this paw print on my center console!  Clearly a reminder from when we brought Rusty home, since his jellybeans (toes) had been sweaty at the vet's office.  And also a glaring sign that I need to clean my car! 
Jack got his first "puppy cone" at the ice cream place. He enjoyed it very much!
I found more nutcrackers at the Salvation Army.  And they're Halloween ones, so even better!  That was a successful trip to the S.A. because I was looking for shorts to pack for my trip.  I never find clothes there, but this time I found a pair of shorts, a skort & a pair of capris right away and they all fit perfectly!  

Speaking of my trip - I leave Thursday!  We still need to work out details (like exactly when we're coming home) but I'll be driving to Cincinnati to pick up Laura and then on the road to Houston (with her pugs and apparently 2 cats, too that Gin is adopting from her).  5 hours to Cinci & then 16 to Houston. 

Gonna be an adventure - can't wait!   

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Reflections #AtoZChallenge 2017

So my post is fashionably late - you know, life happens!

First of all, thank you so much to the organizers who put so much time & effort into the challenge each year - Bravo! 

Initially, I wasn't too sure about the new format the Challenge was done in.  But I kept an open mind and discovered I really liked it!   Yes, adding my links to both the FB page of the day and the blog post meant some extra effort, but it only took like 3 minutes.  And I only say 3 minutes because the Google Drive document where my signature & clickable link are saved takes forever to open!  

I only have to add that I'd like to see the Twitter Chats come back.. They were a lot of fun and thought-provoking in 140 characters!

I appreciated that when most people added their own links for the day, they put a very brief summary of what their topic was, so it was really easy to find other topics that I'd be interested in reading!  So, besides being assured that I was going to an actual valid post for the challenge, it was fun to scroll thru and just see how many different ideas came up for each letter.  There are some creative people out there - not just the variety of ideas in general, but the stories & artwork & poetry, etc! 

That being said - I did a lot more visiting & commenting on (and following!) other blogs because it was easier to find them.   I started out good for the first half of the alphabet with answering comments, but that fizzled out and I don't even know why!  So that's something I will continue to work on next year.  On the other hand, that first half or so was a lot better than I've done in the past, so baby steps!   

Speaking of which.... how about a shout out to some fabulous bloggers?  

Janet at Janet's Smiles  - the happy title of her blog drew me in at first and then I was so entertained with her concert memories via scrapbook!  She also nominated me for a Mystery Blogger Award that I still plan on doing a post on - thanks, Janet!

Bob at Bob's Home for Writing - (I started following him during a previous A-Z challenge!) showed us amazing houses and THEN filled us in on the history of them  ~swoon~   I love stuff like that. 

Joy at The Joyous Living - covered all the bases with A.R.T.  (Artists / Theater / Reading)  and I saw a lot of artists that I had to look up because I wanted to see more of their work and added to my "need to read" list. 

Barbara at Life & Faith in Caneyhead - another blogger I started following in a previous year - she told her perspectives on a whole lot of different topics and I think opened a lot of people's eyes.

Megan at Megan Morgan, Author - I laughed so hard at her posts on why NOT to be a writer!  

Jacqui at worddreams... - she covered more writing genres than I even knew existed and for being such a dedicated commenter!

Tamara at Part-Time Working Hockey Mom - who shared some fantastic recipes & blogged about getting healthier, and I need all the inspiration I can get in that department!  

Ericka at A Quiet Girl's Musings of a World That Talks Too Much - who posted about all things 1992, which was a pretty good year for me so it was a fun trip down memory lane! 

So this was actually my 6th year participating and my 12th challenge overall (I ambitiously did 3 blogs in 2012 & 2013, then dropped to 2 blogs in 2014 & 2015, then just one for 2016 & 2017) and I will most definitely be doing it again in 2018.  

I originally had a different topic in mind for this year, but I wanted to use my own original photos and didn't plan well so therefore it clearly didn't happen.  So since I already have a list of letters put together for this other theme, I'll keep that for 2018 and get my butt out there and get some pics! 


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Headliners Dance Comp (pic heavy)

I'm finally getting around to posting some pics from April 22/23.  This was the first time and probably the last that we go to Headliners.  The main issue we had is that there were only 2 levels of competition.  Our girls are most definitely not beginners, but they're not as advanced as the other teams in the higher level, and therefore fought hard for what few placements they got. 

However, the photographer was awesome!  
And we got the rights to all photos & videos with our entry fee.

They Don't Really Care About Us 
Small Group Tap
High Gold
 Angel in the middle.
 They do this really cool hand-clapping section. 
She's 2nd from left.
 The whole dance looked awesome until around this part when one of the girls is most obviously in the wrong place.  
The F bomb may or may not have been voiced, but it was indeed mouthed! 
High Gold
 The set
 Angel really stood out in her bright teal Miss Peacock costume. 
 The victim on the front of the stage. 
 Being chased by a detective. 
I love this shot!
 She looks like she's stabbing Col Mustard in the back!
 They did jazz, lyrical, hiphop & tap in this routine. 
Spoiler - it was the butler in the dining room with the candle stick. 
 Where Feet May Fail 
Small Group Lyrical
High Gold / 2nd place
 Angel is the one with a knee wrap on.  They didn't wear tights so it stands out. 
 However, her tattoo was covered nicely!

Our dressing room was a band uniform storage closet (we were at a high school) so the girls changed in there, then came out in the hallway to touch up hair & makeup.  She was standing in front of me, leaning over dramatically so I could put makeup on her tattoo, and another team went by and I swear every girl stared, as if I was sewing another arm on her side or something!  
Move along people, nothing to see here!
 Girl Power
HipHop Line
Elite Gold - 4th place

There's no freakin' way that a Disney "Dance Off" should have gotten 3rd over then.  
That was BS.
  Just to the right of the very front girl. (above & below)
 These are the juniors - they're some fierce little nuggets!
Check out their mean-mugs.
 The judges loved Angel's jump - said she had great height and a clean landing. 
Her solo
The judges loved her hair, her sass and all 3 commented 
on her tongue that always sticks out at one point or another!
Since it's a Britney Spears song, I would have preferred her hair to be up in the usual high pony, but I understand that there just wasn't time to undo it after lyrical  and put it back up before jazz into the braided bun. But they liked it, so I can't complain. 
She was upset that she put her hands down during her aerial but she was over too far and hit the curtains, so it was put her hands down or fall on her head.  I think she made a good choice. 
 Final Song
Small Group Jazz
High Gold / 1st place

Tuesday is the official group pictures at the studio.  Can't wait!  This is one of my favorite days of the season. I always get at least a 5x7 of every one of her costumes, and she tries to come up with different poses each year.  I told her for hiphop she needs to find something to jump off so they can take one like in the pic above!  

So the next competition is next Saturday - it sounds like a very small one, since they expect to have awards at 4pm!  The comp tried to prevent it from going over into Mother's Day and it looks like they succeeded.  On the down side, that means they'll be doing a lot of quick-changes.  It's going to be a tiring day for all involved.

...and there will be another year of dance for Miss Angela.  The owner of the studio had asked her during Headliners if she could squeeze another year out of her, but she hadn't given an answer.  We had a team parent meeting Thursday and they were talking about changes being made to the team and new criteria regarding going to Nationals.  So as we stood by the front desk afterward with the owner of the studio, 2 of the teachers, and 2 moms whose girls really look up to Angel, Terina asked if she was coming back next year, and Angel said "If if means a trip to Daytona Beach, HELL YEAH!"  And they cheered.
And so it continues.