Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The suspense is already driving me nuts!

Okay, a couple months ago, Andrew reminded me that New Mexico Magazine holds an annual photo contest for amateur photographers. Any photos entered, by the way, must have been taken in The Land of Enchantment.

He then casually mentioned that I took a few really cool looking photos while we lived in New Mexico, that I should consider submitting them.

Hmmm. Yes, I had to agree that I thought they were cool, and obviously, he thought they were cool. By the way, if you scroll up to the top of the blog, you'll see the photo that inspired him to encourage me to enter the contest.

So I found the contest rules, and went to work going through all my New Mexico photos (hundreds of them), to see if there were any that even remotely stood a chance among other more talented, more experienced photographers' entries.

Well, after a lot of deliberation, I decided that the storm-clouds over the Sacramento Mountains (seen above) would be one entry (of the 6 possible entries I was allowed).

I had another photo that I thought was awesome . . . I took it at White Sands National Monument one brilliant February afternoon. It's a landscape photo, the "subject" being a snow-white, rippled sand dune against an amazingly vivid blue sky. That was photo #2.

Then one more of the Sacramento Mountains on a somewhat snowy winter afternoon, with the beautiful, late afternoon's golden light turning everything rusty.

Plus one of more storm clouds . . . just the storm clouds with the brilliant blue sky (again) as a background.

And finally photo #5 was of the St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe.

(That's right, I only chose 5, though I was allowed to send up to 6.)

I followed the instructions in the rules, then sent off the photos and CD with the digital copies to the photo contest address in Santa Fe.

Now all I can do is wait. And wait . . . and wait.

The contest deadline was just a couple days ago, September 27th.

Winners will be announced in early December, according to the rules, with prizes being shipped in late December. In addition to prizes offered for "Grand Prize," "First Prize," "Second Prize," "Third Prize," and "Honorable Mention," the winners' photos will be published in the January 2011 issue of New Mexico Magazine.

So, while I have a feeling that I won't be winning the Grand Prize (or maybe not even 1st, 2nd, or 3rd), I'm hoping that I'll at least get an honorable mention. Of course, it would be AWESOME if I won a category, and I picked what I thought were my best photos, because I want to win.

I'm just starting to doubt my ability because it's been a long time since I've taken any photography classes (the last one being one of Mr. Duff's classes while I was a student at Culver); it's also been a long time since I was a part of the Culver photography club, trying to take artsy photos. I'm a little intimidated because the judges are professional photographers/artists.

Come to think of it, the last time I entered a photo contest was while I was at Culver. I submitted a black and white photo of the Riding Hall, at an angle very similar to this:

Fog-enveloped Riding Hall at Culver Academies, circa 1987
Of course, the photo I submitted was taken one very sunny morning, so there was a lot of contrast between light/dark, with cool shadows.

Anyway, I guess I'm just going nuts from the suspense and having to wait forever (okay, just a couple months) for the results. I just really wanna know if I won something.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

End of Summer Part II

Here are some more "End of Summer" photos from our early-September trip to The Macadamia Ranch.

Liv and Abuelita decided to take a walk one afternoon, hoping to get back before the thunderstorm arrived. I decided to follow them to take a few pictures.

They're heading down the big hill:

The road has finally been repaved!

Liv and Abuelita are way down the hill.

Stop! Here's the corner where they turned:

 Here's the corner, looking toward home.

 Liv and Abuelita are posing before turning back; Liv's wearing a special headband Nana gave her.

 Liv and Abuelita are heading up the steep hill.

Liv and Abuelita are looking back at me.

 Yes, it's steep. My 4Runner has trouble on this part of the road in the winter.
For now, it's a good workout.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I think it's time to go to sleep.

It's one of those enjoyable autumn nights here in Iowa. It's about 51 degrees, a slight breeze blowing through the open windows. It's definitely a comfortable temp.

I can't stop yawning, but I just don't want to go to bed just yet.

First, I can't stop looking out my kitchen window, the one over the sink, facing east. See, the moon's out there right now, a waning gibbous, kinda bean shaped right now. Sometimes wispy clouds partially cover it, making it look like what Liv and I call a "Halloween Moon." For the moment, the clouds have floated away and it's just a kinda bean shaped moon.

Second, I'm homesick for my home in New Mexico. I think it started at dinner. I'd made some poblano corn chowder (using a Poblano Corn Chowder Starter from Williams-Sonoma), and some jalapeño chedder corn bread muffins.

The chowder was really smoky and had just a bit of spice to it, I guess from the roasted chiles. While it simmered on the stove, it smelled like a New Mexican kitchen should smell - smokey, spicy, like autumn. And then topped off with a garnish of applewood smoked bacon bits, some green onions, and a wedge of lime . . . I could've closed my eyes and imagined myself in my kitchen back in Alamogordo.

So I've been thinking about New Mexico ever since I started preparing dinner. Especially since I've also been sipping a glass of the BEST merlot I've ever tasted . . . a bottle I saved from . . . where else? New Mexico.

While I enjoy the cool weather here and the fall colors on the leaves, I miss the Sacramento Mountains. I think I will ALWAYS miss them. 

How can you not miss this view?!

Sacramento Mountains, looking south, Alamogordo, NM

Here's a view from my backyard.

Cool storm clouds, aren't they?

 And my New Mexico kitchen:

I dunno why, but I always seem to miss New Mexico when it's evening or nighttime, or when I'm really tired.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - A Restaurant

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "A Restaurant."

Yes, I'm going to write about a Mexican restaurant. For some reason, I always seem to crave Mexican food more than any other kind.

Okay, so I was originally thinking of writing about my favorite Mexican restaurant in El Paso, TX, but then I decided I'd write about a different Mexican restaurant that Livie actually ate at when we lived in New Mexico. This restaurant is in historic Old Mesilla, NM; not only have I been there a few times with my grandparents, but I've taken Andrew there, and finally Livie. The restaurant's called La Posta.

When I was younger, I first went to Mesilla with my grandparents. It was just a day-trip from El Paso, where my grandparents lived, just about an hour's drive from their house. At some point during one (or more) of our trips, we actually ate at La Posta for lunch (the other times, we typically ate at the Double Eagle restaurant in another part of Old Mesilla's plaza).

La Posta, by the way, is on the National Register of Historic Buildings, and also has a colorful history, laying claim to such visitors as Billy the Kid and Pancho Villa!

Here's another interesting note: apparently, some time after the Civil War, the La Posta compound became a stop on the Butterfield Stagecoach Line.

So. . .after Andrew and I got married and were stationed in the greater Boston area, we ended up going to El Paso every year around Easter time to visit my grandparents for about 5-7 days. During our trips to El Paso, he and I typically took a day-trip to Mesilla, and inevitably we'd end up at La Posta for lunch. I always loved getting their beef flautas, which came with a side of refried beans, some rice, and guacamole.

We'd just finished a meal at La Posta when I snapped this photo. Andrew has allowed me to take a photo of him outside. By the way, I always loved the look of chile ristras - you can see one hanging behind Andrew's left shoulder. 
La Posta, Mesilla, NM, circa spring 2004.

 He's reluctant to get his photo taken a second time. Again, I love the chile ristras hanging outside La Posta.
La Posta, Mesilla, NM, circa spring 2004.

Then, in the spring of 2006 when Livie was about 4 months old, Andrew and I ended up getting orders for an Air Force base in Alamogordo, NM. Well, instead of being hundreds of miles away, and only being able to head to Mesilla when visiting my grandparents in El Paso, we were now only about an hour and a half away by car. We didn't get to Old Mesilla too often since Livie was just a baby, but we did get there to visit once in a while, while living in Alamogordo.

And during our last weekend living in New Mexico, we took one last trip to Mesilla for one final touristy trip. Of course, we had to take Livie (1.5 years old at the time) to La Posta for lunch, since we weren't sure when or if we'd ever make it back.

I figured Livie would like it because it had some fun stuff in the lobby area, as well as fun décor in its various dining areas. In the lobby, not only did they have a gift shop, they also had trees, a skylight, and a huge cage with brightly colored parrots! They also had a fish tank or two, one of which had piranhas, if I remember correctly. Plus, the trees in there had lights wrapped around them for a festive ambiance.

Andrew and I usually ate in what's called the "Lava" room, a bright room with natural light and trees. But when we took Livie, we ate in "The Bunkhouse" room. It had lots of lights and stuff for Livie to look at while we ate. I, of course, ordered the beef flautas, as usual. I don't remember what Andrew ordered. But for Livie? We ordered her a quesadilla from the kids' menu. It came with refried beans, which she gobbled up, and a milk. To this day, she still loves beans, by the way.

 Baby Liv's enjoying the lights and décor at La Posta.
La Posta, Mesilla, NM, circa 12 August 2007.

We're in the lobby, waiting for our table. Behind Andrew's shoulder, you can see a fish tank.
La Posta, Mesilla, NM, circa 12 August 2007.

I don't remember what Livie's pointing at, but it must have been very interesting. Oh, and look at that shaggy hair!
La Posta, Mesilla, NM, circa 12 August 2007.

Here we are, waiting for our food. I'm not sure why, but we kept Livie's little "La Posta" cup as a souvenir. It's got a color drawing of La Posta's exterior on it.
La Posta, Mesilla, NM, circa 12 August 2007.

I always enjoyed La Posta's food; I remember it being delish! I have such fond memories of going to La Posta with my grandparents, with Andrew, and finally with Livie. I'm glad my last trip there was with Livie so we can say she's been there. There's just something fun about going there.

Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs. Please click on the button below to read Two Bears' post, and the rest of this week's Memory Lane Friday posts:
Come back next week when the topic is "New Shoes."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Late summer's stormy weather

We just got whacked with some severe weather (again) in east central Iowa. And yes, I'm on the computer right now (hoping lightning doesn't strike here). There seems to be a lull in the weather right now. I'm still listening to my weather radio, and we're expecting a bit more severe weather, but for now, I'm posting an update before the next storm blows through.

I first noticed that, even though it's midday here, it got DARK! I heard the wind pick up a bit, and looked outside to see some nasty looking clouds. Whoa!

Clouds, as seen from out the front door, 21 Sep 2010.

It got dark - like dusk - in the house with little light coming in from the windows, 21 Sep 2010.

The view of the clouds over the neighbors' house, as seen from the deck at the back of the house.

Storm clouds, as seen from the front yard, 21 Sep 2010.

The storm's approaching, as seen from the back. The winds picked up, and large raindrops started falling.

Yes, I wish I could be a storm chaser, which is why I went outside briefly to take a few photos.

I'd had my lunch warming up in the oven, so in all the "excitement" of the storm that had just arrived, I had to remember to take it out before it burned and set off the smoke detector. 

Then it started raining, and HARD. Andrew called to say that the EMS warning came on in his building at work. So I turned on the Weather Channel to see what's going on. Severe storms were on their way, and we were (and still are for another 30 minutes or so as I type this) under a severe thunderstorm warning, so get indoors and stay away from windows! Apparently, according to the weather radio, this storm is capable of blowing down telephone poles and trees with 60+ MPH winds.

We also got hail.

A small view of the size and quantity of the hail we received, as seen from the front door.

This is about the average size of the hail we got.

It had been about 82 degrees when the storm started, but when I checked the NOAA website just now, it says it's now 69 degrees here.

I can still hear thunder rumbling and saw a bit of lightning earlier. Flooding has been reported, as well as golf ball sized hail.

Actually, it had quieted down by the time I'd started this post, but it sounds like the thunder is getting louder/more persistent as I type, so I'm going to make this quick and wrap up soon.

I have my bug-out bag, weather radio, cell phone, and camera on me right now, just in case I have to duck into the "tornado room" as Livie calls the small unfinished basement we have underneath the stairway.

Okay, sounds like the thunder is picking up some more, so I'm going to sign off.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Memory Lane Friday

This week, Memory Lane Friday is "No Theme" so we are all going to write about . . . well, very different things. At first, I was all excited because there are so many things I could write about, but then I felt overwhelmed because there are so many things to write about.

So I'm going to narrow it down to a very memorable experience I had while on horseback. Of course, I had to go the equestrian route, again. I guess I've been missing riding lately, so maybe if I write about it here, it'll help alleviate the "I miss it" feeling . . . if only just a little bit, and for just a few minutes.

Okay, this experience was BIG. When I was a student at Culver Girls Academy, I was part of the Culver Equestriennes, the mounted team that performs musical drills.

Well, every 4 years, the Presidential Inaugural rolls around. Typically, Culver Academies gets an invitation for the Black Horse Troop (a.k.a. BHT - the boys enrolled in Culver's Troop) to participate in the Inaugural Parade. For the longest time, it was just the BHT.

But then, for the January 1985 Parade (occurring months before I attended Culver as a freshman), the Equestriennes were extended an invitation, along with the BHT.

So that meant that when I became part of the Equestriennes, I'd be a part of the Culver- Inaugural tradition by the time I graduated.

And it happened, of course. My senior year, the Culver Academies were to send both the BHT and the Equestriennes for the 1989 Presidential Inaugural Parade. I almost couldn't stand the excitement.

Well, in the months leading up to the Parade, we had lots of practice - all these riders practicing staying in formation, practicing Pass in Review (what we'd do exactly when passing the President's reviewing box), practicing riding in formation with loud sounds going off all around us like cannons, emergency vehicles with sirens blaring and lights flashing, flags whipping around, having to maneuver around tires and odds and ends all around us, (to prepare the horses for anything), and just practicing, practicing, practicing. And it was COLD in NW Indiana in late fall, early winter.

I foggily remember leaving for Christmas break. Then, again in a fog, heading back to campus and having 1st semester finals, barely being able to concentrate on the exams in front of me.

I remember that our travel plans depended on our finals schedule. We had a couple "waves" of students traveling to D.C., our departure all depending on finals. I was in the first wave to leave. I remember getting my plane ticket, a booklet with the "who, what, when, where, how" - which included:
  • a Code of Conduct, explaining how the Academies' trip to Washington, D.C. would an "official academy function . . . " 
  • a uniform packing list for both girls and cadets, 
  • horse assignments for Troop A, Troop B, and Equestriennes,
  • student/faculty/staff manifest for both the earlier and later travelers,
  • hotel room assignments, with "room commanders'" names in bold (yes, I was a "room commander")
  • schedule of events
 It was exciting. I remember that a few days before we were to leave, we had to get our equipment ready. Since we'd had our horse assignments soon after getting the invitation, we already knew which horse we each had (because we had to practice with that horse), and the corresponding stall number. My horse was a black gelding named McClellan, #52. Each horse had a corresponding saddle, bridle, and brushes, each item with the appropriate horse's number engraved somewhere visible.

Each of us was given a big white canvas bag, with a number stenciled on it, corresponding to horse number. So, of course, in my #52 bag, I needed to put McClellan's brushes, hoof pick, saddle, a white leather double-bridle, saddle pad, white saddle pad cover (with Culver logos on it), and I think our boots and helmets.

Then the horses were loaded on to these huge horse trailers (each horse having a designated trailer number), to be driven out to D.C.

A few days later, the rest of us left.

Traveling with my pals was just too much fun. I remember that my good friend, Debra, was traveling with me on my same schedule. She was also going to be in my hotel room with me, along with two other girls. Debra and I were on the polo team together, on the Equestriennes together, and we hung out a lot. We still keep in touch.

Traveling, checking in, getting meals, and being briefed on upcoming events was just a whirlwind of excitement, and I almost couldn't wait for the big event.

Finally, it was January 20th. We had to get up early, before dawn. I remember eating attempting to eat breakfast. It felt too early to be hungry. Plus, I had butterflies due to excitement. I remember getting into the bus, Debra in the seat next to me, heading from our hotel (a Holiday Inn) in Manassas, VA to D.C.

We had a designated spot where we'd meet the horse trailers. Then we'd lead the horses to a different area to groom them and get them tacked up and then we'd mount.

I don't know how long a bus ride we had, but I dozed off. At some point I awoke with a start. Debra asked, "Did you dream you were falling?" Huh? Oh . . . I groggily explained I was just startled awake by a bump in the road.

As I blinked and looked around, I remember seeing the Capitol ahead of us in the pink/purple/raspberry/peach dawn light. It was an awesome sight. I couldn't say anything; there was nothing to say. I could only look.

We finally got to our destination. We got off the buses, each of us Equestriennes in our white shirt, stock tie, white breeches, boots, and wearing navy blue Culver sweats on top, partly to keep clean, and partly to keep warm.

We waited for the horse trailers to get there. And then they were there. We were on some D.C. street, which had been blocked off for the event. We had to stand around waiting for a bit. I certainly can't tell you how long, because the excitement blurred my sense of time.

I then saw McClellen's trailer number, and I went, along with my fellow equestrians with mounts in the same trailer. And we all began unloading horses.

It was wild. Here we were, leading our horses down a street (sometimes down a sidewalk) in our nation's capitol.

In another whirlwind, we groomed and tacked up our horses, got ourselves ready, mounted up, and spent a lot of time walking to get our horses loosened up. There were some port-a-potties in sight, but for some reason, I decided I could hold it.

But as time went on, and we were getting closer to finally getting the show on the road, I finally couldn't wait anymore. Plus, I didn't want to remember this ride by how badly I had to go to the bathroom. So I dismounted, had a friend hold my horse's reins, and I took off for a port-a-potty. Of course, there was a line. Ugh.

Finally, I was mounted again, and after what seemed like forever (apparently Pres. G.H.W. Bush and Mrs. Bush had decided to get out of their vehicle and walk), we were off. It was mid- to late-afternoon by the time we headed out.

I was in the second row of Equestriennes on the very right - on the TV camera side. The Senior Prefect (who was also an equestrian) and the Equestriennes captain were on the left - the Pass in Review side. But Su and I, the 2 four-year Equestriennes, were on the TV side.

We proceeded along the parade route. I remember that the streets were packed with people trying to watch the Parade, and the streets were lined with military from all branches, but for some reason, I only remember seeing the Marines. I vaguely remember seeing a woman specifically cheering for the Equestriennes as we rode by, wondering if she was an alumna, or a parent. Then I noticed that she waved an "ERA NOW" sign, and the lightbulb went on over my head.

I remember that the crowds were LOUD. The excitement was electric. I couldn't stop smiling. Of course, when we perform, we Equestriennes always smile, but this smiling was easy!

As we got close to the Pass in Review stand, I remember seeing a sign indicating we were entering the TV filming area. It was late in the day, with long shadows, and golden afternoon light.

And then the command for "Eyes Left" (usually "Eyes Right" but the President would be on the left on the Parade route). As we marched past the Reviewing stand doing "Eyes Left," the first person I noticed was Mrs. Quayle because she had on a periwinkle-like bluish outfit and hat. The color stood out on that winter afternoon.Then I caught a glimpse of Dan Quayle, standing, because he was from Indiana, and so was our school. I remember seeing Mrs. Bush, briefly, and just barely getting the quickest of glimpses of Pres. Bush.

And the next thing I knew, we were heading off onto some side street, and McClellan got spooked from some yellow police tape. He sidestepped so quickly, we were at the other end of the row before I could blink.

I barely remember much at this point. I don't remember dismounting or taking care of McClellan, or even the bus ride back to the hotel.

I just replayed all the snapshots in my mind - from the view of the Capitol that morning to the fluttering police tape.

So there you have it. I wish I had the video coverage that we all got, covering everything from practices, to the actual Parade footage, but alas, it's on VHS, and I have yet to get it transferred to DVD. One of these days I will.

In the meantime, I've posted Culver's official photo of the event.

There's a little float ahead of us, with flags and banners and such. It indicated "Indiana" and each state had one ahead of all the units participating from that state. We were first in line for Indiana, which is why we're directly behind the Indiana float. Yes, there are "pooper scoopers" behind us with shovels and trash cans. A marching band was next, and then a float with an eagle and a globe.

If you look at our mounted  unit, the BHT cadets are carrying state flags. You'll see a light blue flag fluttering on the left in the photo. My face is right next to it to the right. The Equestriennes don't carry flags, but with photo angle and the way the flag is fluttering, it looks like I'm immediately to the right of the flag.

Culver Academies in the 1989 Presidential Inaugural Parade, Washington D.C.

Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs . . . so please click on the button to check out Tow Bears' and the rest of this week's Memory Lane Friday posts. 
Come back next week when the topic is "A Restaurant". . .yummo - I already have one restaurant in mind.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - A Time You Were Sick

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "A Time You Were Sick."

There was this one particular time I was sick in high school, and it's this one time that I want to talk about. It's one of those Teens Don't Necessarily Have the Most Common Sense type of stories. And yes, it will have a horse-related theme incorporated into the story. 

It was my sophomore year at Culver Girls Academy. I was in a quad (4-person room) with Candi, Kristi, and Wendy, in the dorm called Tower. Candi and Kristi were seniors, and Wendy was a junior and the only non-equestrian among us (but she usually came out to watch us in Equestriennes performances, or Culver-sponsored horse shows - the home ones, obviously and not the away ones).

Well, anyway . . . back in the day when I was a student there, if you wanted to be a part of the Varsity Jumping team (the team that went to horse shows, competing in hunters/jumpers/hunter points, etc), you had to be enrolled in the Equitation/Horsemanship department (taking Equitation - Horsemanship - classes during the week), and try out/make the JV Jumping team.You had to participate on the JV team for at least one semester before being allowed to try out for the Varsity team.

So my first semester my freshman year, I made the JV team, as did a bunch of other students, including Gavin, a fellow freshman. He and I had also been involved in Pony Club in our respective home towns before attending Culver.

When the second semester of my freshman year started, I'd found out when Varsity Jumping try-outs were (I was also eligible to try out for the Equestriennes at this time, too) and I was there!

Needless to say, I'd made the team as a freshman, as did Gavin. The two of us were the only freshmen on the team.

So . . . fast forward to sophomore year. I can't remember if it was late in the first semester, or early in the second. But it was wintertime and COLD in NW Indiana. Maybe February?

A few of us Varsity Jumpers were getting ready to head to a one-day horse show in Michigan City, IN on a Saturday. By mid-week, I was starting to feel run down, like something was not quite right. I wasn't sure if it was just from classes, studying, and all the other stuff I was involved with - but I just wasn't feeling 100%.

By Friday, though, I knew something was wrong. We'd been at the Riding Hall after we'd ridden that afternoon, just making sure we'd had everything we needed for the show the next day. Since it was just a one-day show, we'd leave early on Saturday to get there, we'd show, and then come back late Saturday evening, so we only needed to organize stuff for one day. We typically stopped at a steak place on our way back to campus so we could eat something tasty for dinner.

This Friday night after wrapping up at the Riding Hall, we'd dispersed our own separate ways, each of us going to our respective dorms/barracks. Candi and Kristi were on the Varsity Jumping team with me, and the three of us headed back to our dorm to shower, change into cozy pjs, and then hang out in our room . . . eventually going to bed at lights-out.

Well, I just felt HORRIBLE by this point. But I didn't want to say anything. I really wanted to go to this horse show. This was my first full year as a Varsity Jumper. And while I wouldn't have been bumped down to JV because I was sick and had to miss a show or anything like that . . . it's just one of those weird thought-processes of a teen's brain. I didn't want to miss the show. And I was NOT going to the infirmary! (Nothing wrong with the infirmary . . . I just wasn't going.)

Anyway, I showered and changed into my pjs and headed straight to my bed. Luckily, my bed was right next to the window.

Now, I think I must've just had some viral bug that was going around (no gastrointestinal, um, "issues" to deal with - just a fever and fatigue) so it's not like I could've done anything to get rid of it (other than to rest, drink fluids, and probably spend a night or two in the infirmary so as not to spread the bug).

But back to the story . . . on this particular cold, winter evening, I was hot. I was burning up. Tired Fall-down exhausted. Had a headache. I went to my bed. I felt like I was going to burn a hole through my sheets. So I opened the window.

In the wintertime in NW Indiana.

It felt WONDERFUL. Ahhh, relief. Nice, cool air flowing over me. I was in a haze. Was I awake? Or asleep? I vaguely remember hearing voices. My roommates? Friends from across the hall? They were familiar voices, nonetheless. Wendy? Rosann? Kristi? I'm not sure.

I remember that the bedroom lights were on.

I then remember that Wendy came over and closed the window. Somebody had gone to our dorm mother's apartment down the hall and had gotten a thermometer. In my mouth it went. Obviously, I had a fever. I was burning up. I wanted the window open. Somebody got me a glass of water; another got me a glass of orange juice.

I think I'd said I didn't want to go to the infirmary. That I was going to go to the horse show. I have a little bottle of Tylenol in the lock box in my desk. Please get a couple for me.

Our dorm mother came in to check. No, please don't make a fuss. I'm going to bed; I'm okay.

I slept fitfully. I had to keep getting up to go to the bathroom, after all the liquids everyone had pushed on me. My three roommates must've really bundled up that night, because I remember begging and pleading to keep the window open a crack. But I'm assuming one of them closed it after I'd fallen asleep.

And then the alarm clock (mine? Candi's?) went off way too early. Horse show mornings always start off really early. Especially early if you've been sick the night before.

We'd made it to the Riding Hall that morning, got the horses loaded into the trailer, made sure all the equipment and necessities were loaded in the "tack room" portion of the trailer, and we were ready to load ourselves up. Typically, those teammates with the most seniority would get to ride in the dually's cab, enjoying either heat or a/c, depending on the season. Everyone else would have to ride in the "tack room" portion of the trailer. Shhh, that probably wouldn't fly very well these days.

Well, since I would've had to ride in the trailer as a sophomore, with a bunch of juniors and seniors taking up the dually (our coach would've been driving), I was kinda milling about, waiting til the last moment before getting in.

But then Candi came to me and stated, "You're riding in the truck." She had a you're not arguing with me tone of voice.

Okay. I wasn't going to argue with her. Not only was she giving me an order, I wasn't feeling like arguing. I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep. But I desperately wanted to show at the same time. I was sick. I was a teen. Don't try and find the logic.

As I was getting ready to get into the truck, I heard somebody - another teammate (Drew, maybe?) - arguing with Candi. All I could hear was Candi's voice quietly, but forcefully saying, "She's SICK! She WILL ride in the truck. Do you understand?"

And that was it. I was definitely riding in the truck. I think everyone knew I wasn't feeling well, but it was something that nobody talked about, other than that brief exchange I'd overheard.

Fortunately, I didn't get anybody else sick, though I vaguely remember trying not to breathe near anyone else. And I brought home some ribbons, too. Nothing stellar, but in the ribbons, nevertheless.

And that is how I remember the event. Now, keep in mind I was sick and in need of sleep, so I may not have remembered it exactly as it happened, but this is the way my brain stored my memories of this event.

Oh, and that Saturday night's sleep? It was the smartest thing I'd done that week.

Riding Hall circa May 2009, Culver Academies, Culver, IN

Please click on the button to read the rest of this week's Memory Lane Friday posts, hosted, as always, by "Two Bears and the Three Cubs":
Next week's Memory Lane Friday is "No Theme" so it'll be a nice surprise to see different topics.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pre-K Photos

Today, Liv's getting her Fall photos taken at Pre-K. I had a cute outfit already picked out and ready for her to wear for her photo shoot. But in true 4-year-old fashion, she decided she did NOT want to wear the purple/gray/silver and rhinestone outfit I'd picked out. She very clearly, as only a 4-year-old can (meaning, very loudly, and on the verge of tears), gave me her opinion.

Instead, she chose (on her own, no help from me) something very autumn-like. . . an outfit that simply screams "HALLOWEEN!"

She even let me put little matching orange clips in her hair.

Here's her outfit:

The ghost has bling - little rhinestones placed like a little "diamond" necklace around its neck. I think that's one of the reasons why she liked it. And the little "tutu" attached to the top, and the fact that it has a ghost on it.

When she got to Pre-K, all the teachers made a big fuss over her, because she is so cute in this outfit. It looked cute on the hangar, but man-o-man, is it cute when she's wearing it!

(By the way, in case you're wondering . . . she's holding a little toy turtle, a toy purse, and a washcloth - the turtle's "blanket" - in her left hand. She wouldn't put it down when I asked her to pose for a photo.)

Nonna Giulia's Pizza Dough

Nonna Giulia's Pizza Dough

I'd like to try this!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Do the Zoo!

Okay, so over Labor Day Weekend, we went to the Blank Park Zoo, in Des Moines. Their commercial always says "Do the Zoo!" so that's what we did!

Plus, over the summer, Livie had earned one free kid pass to the Blank Park Zoo by reading a lot during the Marion Public Library's annual summer reading program, so we figured we'd take the opportunity to enjoy the sunny, cool weather and visit the zoo. 

It was perfect weather for the zoo. Not too chilly, not too hot, and just enough clouds to keep it comfortable, but not overcast.

Here are some photos of our trip to the zoo . . .

We're on our way to the zoo.
Of course, just two minutes into our 15-20 minute drive to the zoo, Liv asked if we were almost there.

They obviously have flora as well as fauna at the zoo.

Liv loves the aquarium, becuase they have both "Dory" and "Nemo" swimming around in there, somewhere.

The jellies!

Liv is also fascinated by the sea lions. Here's one as it swims around.

We found one of the peacocks.

Is it molting? I dunno, but it's missing its beautiful tail feathers.

Now here's a cool looking bird!

Liv's waiting for Daddy to get her a cool beverage.

Here's the giraffe Livie wanted to take home for Tia Pia.
Tia Pia (whom Livie calls Pia Pia) asked Liv to bring home a giraffe for her. So here's a photo of the giraffe Livie wanted to bring home. Since we couldn't fit it into the 4Runner, we got the next best thing - a photo of it.

This is a water fountain disguised as a hippo.

This "elephant" would squirt water out of its trunk whenever someone walked past.

These are statues of some sort of prehistoric animals.

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