Sunday, July 29, 2018

Life lately...OK July.

slow down GIF
Sometimes life just feels this way, ya know!

I think there is finally a lull in the action.  The last couple weeks have been insane, on-the-go, stuff to do, places to be craziness.  

There was the 4th of July in the middle of a short work week right after our trip to Florida.  Then that weekend, the 7th we all went up north to clean up my parent's property (120 acres).  Dad loved it up there and spent a lot of his off time 'putzing around' there.  Since he passed away, Mom doesn't want to have to deal with the taxes & upkeep, etc. and anyway it just doesn't feel like the same place since he's gone.  So we had a 22 foot dumpster delivered & 6 of us worked for a good 10 hours and filled that dumpster of just *stuff* that has just accumulated over the last 45 years or so.  
On the plus side - I finally got my art!  Mom asked us if we wanted anything from the house and that we were free to take it.  This was the first thing that popped in my mind - I'd spent a lot of hours as a kid daydreaming about what was down that path and making up stories in my head. 
On the downside - it's a lot bigger than I remember!  

Moving onto the next weekend 7/14 - we (most of us females) rented a van and carpooled to Chicago for my nephew & his bride's baby shower.  Newest great-nephew is due to arrive right around their first anniversary! 
We went to the Bean and did an architecture boat tour, which was pretty cool.  We didn't make it down to Navy Pier, tho.  
We all laughed at this!  My nephew 98% of the time is in khakis & polo shirts, so this is the outfit the baby is going to come home from the hospital in! 
I clearly didn't get the "flower dress" memo!

Moving on.  Wednesday the 18th was Randy's birthday.  I took him out to dinner, then we went to sister Laurie's to help get ready for Thursday.  I also bribed him with going to get ice cream from this cool little place near her house.  She got a great deal on a really nice horse trailer, so we're able to go do stuff now!   So we got all the necessities staged to load up & go.  Thursday the 19th was training with the search & rescue team & the horses.    We learned crowd control maneuvers & also some search techniques.  And we got to play with radios - calling in "evidence" aka playing cards, scattered thru a field.  
 The sunset was gorgeous that night!
Photo op at Hobby Lobby!  Angel & I had stopped in Saturday the 21st to kill some time before going to the studio to pick up our recital DVD, so on our way out of the store, I stopped and took this real quick selfie - then forgot about it!  I found it a couple days later & was impressed with how well it turned out. 

Last week was crazy busy.  I'd worked late on Monday.  Tuesday was really the only slow day I had, so I skipped my WW meeting and just did stuff around the house that has been sorely lacking.   Wednesday was my VFW meeting (speaking of that - we're getting a tank at our post!  Being Navy, I have zero knowledge of tanks, but this is gonna be freaking awesome!!) and again - I went out to Laurie's to help stage stuff to load in the trailer & to also install the new reflective signs I bought for it.  It now says "CAUTION HORSES" across the back (as if it being a horse trailer isn't obvious enough!) and some other reflective strips in various places.  

Thursday I'd told Randy I wanted to go to a baseball game at the field where Angel is on the Dance Crew - it was...
People thought her bruises were real!  
She's pretty talented with a makeup brush & some glue & TP.
 Thriller - of course!
 Randy opted to not get his face painted, but I did!  
Our tickets included face painting, a t-shirt & an 'undead' beverage of our choice.  

Friday was our first real event with the search & rescue team!  It was a PR thing that we did with the Sheriff's Department, patrolling the parking lot at the Eastern Michigan State Fair.  We'd already heard of the happenings from the first 2 nights of the fair and were expecting more, since it was now the weekend.  But other than me acting like an incompetent idiot - there was no action! 
We tried to hide in the far corner of the lot for a bit to rest the horses.
It didn't happen with those orange shirts!  Lt called us out on it - LOL!
The pic above shows the actual color - the one below is kinda washed out. 
This was all new to both horses, so we let them stop & look at new things if they needed & also avoided places like the race track here the demolition derby was going on.  Kisses really didn't like the sound of *those* cars. And they both stopped to take a good look at the rides on the midway.   But overall, they both did really well with all the people & cars & diesel trucks moving around in the lot. 
 Watching the moon rise over the barns & midway. 
 We were there with Lt & a deputy both on horseback - but they stayed mostly by the main gate.  There was another deputy on an ATV and yet another on a golf cart.  Plus there was a group of guys there on horseback called the Posse, who were directing traffic & finding parking spots (and looked a LOT like mounted police, so I guess that helped make people behave a bit) 
OMG - look at this little girl's expression!!  
Made everything worthwhile.

 So.  Sigh.   The story behind me being an incompetent idiot.  There's nothing like being dumped ungracefully off a horse while in front of 4 uniformed people who expect you to use said horse to HELP other people!  
We got to the staging area & unloaded & tacked up the horses.  Laurie was already up on Remington & I was standing on the mounting block.  I had my foot in the stirrup & next thing I knew I was upside down, clinging to Kisses' side as she took off across the (large, cement) parking lot!  My guardian angel was working overtime to keep me hanging on until Kisses took her first full stride onto the grass - that's when I fell off!  I managed to twist around & landed on my butt, but I had to have hit heels first since my butt hasn't been tender at all.  Luckily Kisses stopped almost immediately and I hopped up to make sure she was OK.  She was.  And we tried again and I successfully got on this time and we traveled in a little convoy over to the fairgrounds. 
Then later, after we'd been in the saddle for a good 2 hours  (we were there from 6pm until after 11)  we saw some $ on the ground, so Laurie hopped down to grab it.  Then she commented about how good it felt to walk.  So I got down, too.  We made our way up to the gate & hung out by the Lt & deputy up there.   When we decided to head back out to the parking lot, I used the bumper of someone's truck as a mounting block.  Of course Kisses kept moving away, so Lt used his horse to push her closer to me.  As I stepped into the stirrup, my ankle twisted and I almost fell off the damn truck this time!  
So yeah.  My pride & ego took a battering that evening! 
This is the worst of my injuries (not the scratch - that's from the cat...last April!!).  It's still (Sunday night) swollen a bit & warm to the touch.  Pretty sure this is from the front of the saddle.  I also have some nice color developing on the inside of my right thigh, which I'm not quite sure how that happened.  Stirrup maybe?  Oh, and my ankle is occasionally tender.   All of the other aches & pains are mostly gone unless I sit for too long, then I stiffen up.  

So the rest of this weekend has been pretty chill.  It was well after midnight when we got back to Laurie's house & unloaded the horses.  I stayed the night & helped her with a few chores Saturday.  Then came home and napped.  I skipped a graduation party I was supposed to go to, but they understood.   Today, Randy & I went out to brunch, went to Lowe's & did some planning for Halloween (don't judge!  There's less than 100 days and you can't wait until the last minute to build things!), napped, then dinked around on the patio / in the garage.  Then did up some BBQ chicken on the grill for dinner. 

So that, in a nutshell - has been July!

What has you been up to?

EDIT - found another big bruise this morning in the shower - on the back of my calf.  Probably also from the saddle as I did my 'trick riding'.  It's now mid-way thru Monday afternoon & I'm more sore today than I was all weekend.  Guess shuffling paper makes you use your left arm more than you'd expect! 


Friday, July 20, 2018

Vacation / Nationals - part 4 - Celebration!

Woohoo!  The Main Event! 
The whole reason we flew to Florida in the summer / hurricane season and put up with zillions of tourists & construction even worse than we have in Michigan!
Image may contain: Lynn Peters-Michels, Angela King and Lisa Cavallaro, people smiling, people standing and outdoor
Since we were blinded by the intense blue lights, why not take a pic?
The table of hardware!
owl wow GIF
The older girls' first routine wasn't until 3:30ish Wednesday afternoon so at this point it was pretty calm in the dressing room. 
Hanging out before contemporary.
They got a ShowStopper Award - given by the judges as a routine that stands out to them. 
that's Angel doing the leap
Angel's solo was #3 of the day Thursday.  
I love candid shots!  
Here she is going backstage with her choreographer, Claire. 
Deep conversations with Chantel before lyrical.
Waiting to go backstage, watching other dances. 
Primping before jazz.
Walking thru jazz, getting in the zone....
Senior (and 1 adult) solos & small groups done!
The trophy was only for the adjudications, so I ended up buying her the 1st place trophy. 
Which we weren't thinking that we still had a plane trip home, ooops! - but luckily there was a UPS store in the lobby of the hotel so I had them shipped. 
We kind of wish that the big glittery plaque actually said "National Finals" on them instead of looking just like the one from Regionals.  To make them special, ya know.   And when they won the BIG one, each member should have gotten a jacket or at least a medal, so they all had something tangible to take home.  Just my thoughts. 
With Mrs Terina, owner of the studio
We Found Love / tap stolen from Celebration's Instagram
Team pic
Walking thru Girl Power
How else would you carry a bunch of trophies??
Friday 6/29 was the Showdown.  
This was the highest scoring groups in each category
Rising Star (intermediate level) 12 & under / 13 & up
Shining Star (Advanced level) 12 & under / 13 & up. 
Plus there were Judge's Choice routines, too. 
Let's get ready to rumble!
The place was packed!  
I'm surprised this came out as well as it did - my hands were shaking so bad & I was still jumping around & screaming!
Miss Gabby, the choreographer
season 3 crying GIF


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Vacation / Nationals - part 3

 6/26 - 6/30
I'll put the competition itself in a post of its own, since it was happening in this time frame.   Most of the days it was done around 7 or so, so the evenings were still free. 
The view from our 17th floor room.
One thing about the afternoon storms, they made some fantastic cloud formations. 
Not an unusual sight - a group congregating in one room - probably plotting.
 Outside VooDoo Donuts
We had 2 groups go thru the Escape Room and make it out!
A group of adults were going to go, but we missed our time slot because we had to wait until the improv contest winners were awarded.  So we went & had a few drinks while the kids tried to Escape.  Sounds fair!
But they found us.  Booo!
The last night we were in Orlando, we went to City Walk one last time.
YESSSS!  Haunted golf!
It was fun & I loved the theme!
Then Angel & Sarah wanted to get cornrow braids. 
She actually *just* took these out.  2+ weeks later & they still looked pretty good. 
One of the 'little' girls was getting a hair wrap so they had to pose with her (and yet another girl photobombed)
A quick ride on the boat.  This went between hotels down(up?) river and City Walk.   
They took advantage of the mist around the Universal Globe for some cool photo ops.
Chocolate shake from the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium.  This is one of the smaller treats that I've seen pics of - others had a full piece of cake or cupcake on top of them.
Saturday the 30th was our flight home.  
Our plane was fancy, in that we could track ourselves!
My personal drama was I got dehydrated that Sunday at SeaWorld and my contact baked onto my eyeball or something.  I couldn't get it out normally & ended up peeling it off my eye.  So yeah, it was irritated.  Like raging pinkeye red (which made my iris glow a really cool light blue).  But other than being incredibly light sensitive, it didn't hurt & wasn't goopy.  I went to an urgent care in Orlando on Thursday who gave me antibiotic eye drops and assured me I could fly without my eyeball popping.  I went to another urgent care when I got home, and he told me to stop the antibiotics and gave me a card to an ophthalmologist.  So I've been to see her 3 times now.  I'm finally cleared to wear contacts again but on a limited basis until I get a new prescription for a different brand of contacts.   I was indeed happy to make it home with 2 working eyeballs. 

My next post will be all the dance pics and resulting excitement!