Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Time to Get Up!

Recently, Livie has become interested in getting up with the help of an alarm clock. I'm not exactly sure why, but I guess it's the whole novelty of it; she's just really excited and interested in having an alarm clock beeping her awake every morning.

Wait 'til she has to wake up early every morning . . . right?! (I'm a naturally early riser, but even I didn't like getting up at 4:30 AM all that much when I worked full-time.)

She's always been a pretty early riser, though, regularly getting up on her own sometime between 6:30 AM - 7:00 AM. Yet, there's something about getting up with an alarm clock that's so fascinating to her, though . . . maybe it's because Daddy has to use one every week day morning. And, of course, I need to use one, too, when school's in session.

Anyway, Monday evening, she really, really wanted to use an alarm clock to help her get up the next morning. She was going to have french toast sticks at Pre-K in the morning and wanted to be up and at 'em (they're doing a daily "summer camp" program thing for the next few weeks, so it's not actually Pre-K now that it's summer).

And who wants to miss french toast sticks, right?! So Andrew got his travel alarm clock out and asked her what time he should set it for - she said, "Ask Mama. She'll tell you a good time."

Okay . . . "Well, 6:50 AM seems like it would be good." Let me tell you, Livie was so excited that Daddy had set his travel alarm clock to help her wake up the next morning!!

Well, the next morning, just as I was waking up (around 6:30 AM), I heard some rustling around from out in the hallway. As I yawned and stretched, trying to get rid of my grogginess, Liv came into my room, and over to my side of the bed. She was carrying the travel clock in her hands, cradling it in her palms as though she were carrying an egg.

"It didn't do anything, yet. Isn't it supposed to beep?"

"Yes, sweetie. But it's not time, yet. You woke up before the alarm went off."

"Now what?"

"Go back to bed, get comfy, and just wait for it to beep. It'll go off in about 20 minutes."

So she headed back to her room, but instead of getting back into bed, she got cozy on her oversized bean bag chair and waited for the clock to beep. And when it did, she was so excited!

And boy, was she excited when she got to Pre-K yesterday morning, after having used an alarm clock for the first time!

Of course, last night, she wanted to make sure she was able to use it again this morning. Daddy made sure it was all set to go off at 6:50 AM, again.

This time, though, she slept until it went off. I peeked into her room as she was getting out of bed to turn it off. And I watched her crawl right back into bed after she turned it off.

I asked her, "Are you okay?"

"I'm still kinda sleepy." (And a bit grumpy, I would say, but I think that's because we she went to bed about 30 minutes late; we stayed up to catch (and release) fireflies last night, in our front yard.)

Here's where she ended up as soon as she turned off the alarm clock - nice and cozy.

She's grumpily telling me she was still sleepy. And not pleased to see me with my camera, taking aim directly at her!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Your Sunday Best - 26 Jun 2011

This big, ol' tree fell during a recent, severe storm that blew through east-central Iowa. Can you believe that?!

Please click on the flower button below to see all of this week's "Your Sunday Best" photo entries:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - 7th Grade

*Note: Here I am with today's Memory Lane Friday post. Due to some computer/internet issues, I wasn't able to post earlier. But here it is, finally!*

This week, our Memory Lane Friday theme is "7th Grade." I don't remember any specific thing about 7th grade, other than really enjoying and doing well in my English class, sorta-kinda enjoying math and science, and taking piano and riding lessons after school.

What I do remember in detail, though, is the summer after 7th grade. This was my second summer at Culver's Upper Camp. This is where I ended up going to high school, but they have various camps during the summer, and they kept us kids super busy all the time. For those of us in Upper Camps (ages 13-17), it was 6-weeks, where we had 4 class periods in the morning and a couple in the afternoon. Then we had various activities in the afternoon and evening.

My second summer there (between 7th and 8th grades) was a blast! I ended up having my horsemanship classes in the morning - 2 back-to-back (each horsemanship class being 2 class periods each). Then in the afternoon, I had a photography class (also a 2-period class).

Looking back on it, this was an awesome set-up, and not just because I got to do two of my favorite hobbies. I'd ride in the morning, all morning, basically, and wrap up just as it was getting super hot. Then I'd head back to my dorm, shower, then head to lunch with my "deck" mates (we girls were set up in "decks" - each deck occupying a particular dorm - and had a whole leadership system, similar to the boys' military system). Then I'd spend the afternoon learning a bit about photography (back in the days of actual film), then heading out taking photos. The best part of taking my photography class in the afternoon? I'd spend the hottest part of the day in the cool, dark darkroom developing film and creating prints.

Anyway, I remember that my instructor for my second block of riding was CSM John "Sarge" Hudson (who was also there during the regular school year). He was an Army vet, and great horseman. While he was hard on the troopers (the boys in the troop, which is the cavalry unit), he was pretty lenient with me.

As soon as we all assembled in the office, Sarge would give us our horse assignments. If he sensed I didn't particularly agree with my horse assignment, he'd ask me who I wanted to ride (usually a horse named Black Lightning), and typically agreed to let me ride that horse instead of my original assignment.

Sometimes we'd ride in the ring. Other times, we'd head out to the pasture where there were cross-country jumps and we'd ride around. Usually, if we were out in the pasture, he'd let me go off and jump whatever I wanted to jump, while he taught the troopers basic horsemanship. (He'd keep an eye on me, though, and sometimes call me over to demonstrate one thing or another to the less experienced riders in the class.) And once in a while, he'd take us on a trail ride - sometimes through the woods, but occasionally ending up at the Dairy Queen in town. Half of us would dismount while the other half would stay mounted and hold horses. The dismounted half of the class would head into the DQ and get ice cream for all of us, then we'd all stand around on the grass, enjoying our ice cream.

I remember a specific day when it started pouring as we were putting our horses away after class. I didn't have an umbrella, rain jacket, poncho, or anything that would keep me dry as I walked across campus to my dorm. Sarge came up to me as I stood in the doorway looking out at the sheets of rain pouring down. He told me to follow him to the office, which I did. He got a big, black, plastic trash bag out of the utility closet (one that hadn't been used, obviously). He cut a head-sized hole in the bottom, a hole in each side, and slipped it over my head. Voila! A poncho! And just like that, he sent me on my way.

And for photography later that afternoon? Since it was still raining on and off throughout the day, my instructor sent me to the gym so I could take some indoor "action" photos of an intramural basketball game. I spent most of the time taking photos, and then about 45 minutes in the darkroom.By the way, I had an old Nikon camera that my dad had given me, something similar to this.

The Riding Hall at Culver, circa May 2009. I took this during my last "Alumni Weekend," which was my 20-year reunion.

Detail of the Riding Hall, circa 1988-89 school year. Note the crest, which is the BHT (or Black Horse Troop) crest.

This is Black Lightning, one of my favorite Culver horses, circa 1988-89 school year. Sarge said he was an Appaloosa. He had a spot on his belly, and one near the base of his tail, plus the face markings.

So there you have it. Not specifically from 7th grade, but during the summer immediately following 7th grade. I think that's close enough.

Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Lisa at Two Bears Farm. Please click on the button below to read her entry, as well as other contributors' posts:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Time Machine

I recently found some old photos. This particular photo is of my grandfather, Sir Rafa, with my mom and my Uncle Ralph. I think the dog is "Pee Wee." This would've been in the early 1950s in El Paso, TX. I don't know who took the photo. Maybe my grandmother . . . maybe someone else.


The 1st Ninth

Andrew and I have two anniversaries every year. The first is our justice of the peace anniversary, which coincides with the first day of summer, today, June 21st. The second is our church wedding anniversary. (You can read about our 2nd Eighth (the church wedding one) by clicking here.)

Our first anniversary of the year, the justice of the peace one, came about for a good reason.

This was early 2002. Because we were both in the Air Force at the time, and because I was about to get orders for a new assignment, and because we were in the beginning stages of planning a church wedding (which was scheduled for mid-December 2002), we needed to do the justice of the peace thing before I got my orders.


Well, Andrew still had a couple years left at his assignment in North Carolina, while I was going to get a new assignment and need to leave Tucson by the end of Summer 2002. There would be no guarantee that he'd ever make it to my new installation anytime while I was still there. We would have probably kept missing each other each time one of us got a new assignment, simply because we were not married yet. Planning a wedding and actually being married already are obviously two different things. So, in order to be put on the same assignment schedule, we needed to already be married (before my orders were cut), with the official paperwork (the legal marriage certificate) already in hand.

By the end of February '02, we'd already gotten the church (Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, IL) reserved for 4 PM on December 14th, and had completed our marriage-prep classes in Raleigh, NC not far from where Andrew was stationed (yes, I'd taken leave for a week and flew to NC, so we could take the classes).

But that still left the issue of our not yet having a marriage license/certificate, my getting a new assignment by summer's end, and his assignment's remaining two years. After talking to the priest who'd be performing our wedding ceremony in December, he'd suggested we do a justice of the peace ceremony soon, and we'd still go ahead with the wedding ceremony in December. Since the justice of the peace ceremony was a "civil" ceremony, it wouldn't conflict (so to speak) with our plans for our December church ceremony.

So in June '02, I headed back to NC for a week, so we could do a justice of the peace ceremony. That would make us officially married and giving us the marriage certificate. The certificate would then go to the personnel/assignment folks who'd get us a "join spouse" assignment - we'd be on the same assignment schedule, going to the same installation at the same time.

I think I'd gotten to NC at the beginning of the week, but for some reason, we ended up not getting to the court house 'til Thursday, June 20th (we had to get the license at least one day before the ceremony). Then on Friday the 21st, we headed to the court house with three of Andrew's buddies from his office, as witnesses.  They seemed excited about the whole thing.

It was a hot, humid North Carolina summer day. Blech. I remember getting dressed up a bit. I had nice slacks and blouse, and a black blazer, plus nice shoes. I'd done my hair and makeup. Andrew? He was in jeans and a t-shirt, and sneakers.

He seemed a little nervous. I wasn't nervous at all . . . until the justice of the peace walked into the room and began the ceremony. Then the butterflies found their way to my stomach.

It was a pretty quick ceremony. The justice of the peace said some nice words about marriage. We signed the appropriate documents, and that was it. Back we went, out into the hot summer day. Andrew's office mates gave us a card, which everyone in the office had signed. They also included some gift cards for a steak place (knowing, I'm sure, that we're both carnivores).

And then we had the rest of the weekend before I had to head back to Tucson.

I remember calling my commander to tell him we'd done the justice of the peace ceremony, and that I'd be dropping off the appropriate paperwork to personnel when I got back to Tucson. He gave me a "Congrats!" and a "We'll talk about assignment stuff when you get back" before reminding me and Andrew to do something fun to celebrate before I had to head back.

Andrew and I ended up seeing Lilo and Stitch, in Fayetteville that night, since it had just come out in theaters.

We then spent the rest of the weekend in the Raleigh/Durham area. I remember that we'd headed to Maggiano's, an Italian restaurant, and we got stuffed on pasta and dessert.

I think we also went to a museum in Raleigh, and saw a U.S. Presidents exhibit, including portraits of many (if not all) the presidents up to that point, and even a Lincoln death mask.

The weekend went very quickly, and the next thing I knew, I was heading back to Tucson.

For some reason, I didn't have my camera with me the day we did the justice of the peace ceremony. But I had it the rest of the weekend. 

Here's Andrew, either later that day or the next day. Actually, I think this was outside the museum (don't ask me the name, because I don't remember) in Raleigh, the day after the justice of the peace ceremony.

 And here's me . . . I think this was February '02, in Petersburg, VA (at a Civil War battle site). (I don't have a photo of me from the day we did the justice of the peace ceremony, because like I said, I didn't think to bring my camera.) I had to absolutely insist that Andrew take my picture here (or else I would've never had the chance to have my picture taken - I'm always the one behind the camera). Anyway, this was taken after we'd finished our marriage prep classes, and we had some time to do fun stuff before I headed back to Tucson.

So, "Happy 1st Ninth Anniversary, Andrew!!"

Friday, June 17, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - Father's Day Edition

This week, my Memory Lane Friday post is about my dad, in honor of Father's Day. You can see what I wrote about him last year for Memory Lane Friday by clicking here. You can also read about how he led us in a memorable family vacation (including eating at a Mexican restaurant called The Irish Camel) by clicking here.

My dad is the kind of guy who likes a good adventure, from skiing in "The Greatest Snow on Earth" in Utah in the winter, or zipping along the waters of Lake Ozark, MO in his boat in the summer.

He's always up for seeing a good action/adventure movie (like Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Terminator, etc.) or something hysterical (like Animal House, which reminds him of his own college days).

He's the one who used to take me deep sea fishing when I was younger. I was always the better fisherman (fisherkid?), though. Let's just say his vestibular system caused him to spend less time fishing and more time, uh . . . leaning over the side of the boat, providing chum, if you know what I mean.

My vestibular system worked just fine, so I spent my time fishing.

Anyway, my dad is also the guy who likes to take long Sunday drives. He's got a couple motorcycles, so when the weather's good he likes to take one out and drive all day. (Sometimes he goes on motorcycle trips with my brother, Joe, but that's another story.)

I remember one time when he invited me to go with him. I don't ride motorcycles (only horses), so I hopped on the back of his, and he and I rode around all afternoon. It was a lot of fun.

He can definitely be depended on to be a part of a fun situation!

Here's my dad, "Nonno," (which is "grandpa" in Italian), making "horns" behind Livie's head.

Here he is during a visit to New Mexico holding baby Livie, October '06.

He's doing "the handoff" when Andrew and I got married in 2002. This photo: ©Brad Baskin.

Here's my dad at my wedding reception. This photo: ©Brad Baskin.

He's taking a nap in my living room. He can take a nap just about anywhere!

Memory Lane Friday is hosted weekly by Lisa at Two Bears Farm. Please click on the "Memory Lane Fridays" button below to read her entry, as well as other contributors' entries: 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

This Year's Iowa State Fair Entries

Last year, Livie entered the Iowa State Fair's kids' coloring contest for the first time. (Click here and also here for the stories.)

There are typically two categories for kids 3-10 years-old: a.) the age group (3-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-10), where they use only markers, paints, colored pencils, or crayons when coloring the year's pictures, and b.) the "Anything Goes," where they're free to use anything from glitter, to any other art-and-crafts type things. Parents can help guide their children's work, but all work must be done by the children.

Last year, Livie just did the age group, using crayons to color her picture.

This year, we decided to enter both the age group (5-6 year-olds) and the "Anything Goes." I helped her by giving her ideas on what she could do to glitz-up her "anything goes" entry, and she did the work.

Here are her entries:
Here's the 5-6 year-old age group entry.

Here's the "Anything Goes" entry.

Here's the "Anything Goes" entry up close.

Again, the "Anything Goes," so you can see the "confetti," glitter, and jewels.

And both entries, side by side. Liv says the gray curly-cues by the nose "show that the cow is sniffing the cake."
This year's artwork celebrates the famous Iowa State Fair Butter Cow. This year is the Butter Cow's 100th birthday, hence, the birthday theme.

We are looking forward to seeing how she does in these Fair contests. I hope she wins something. She and I agree that her "Anything Goes" entry is her best work (of the two pieces of art she's submitting).

And, of course, we're looking forward to going to the Fair to do all the fun things, like seeing the Butter Cow, going on the giant green & yellow slide, again, eating all the junk food (the corn dogs, funnel cakes, deep-fried Oreos, cotton candy), and seeing the sights (like the livestock), and all the other fun stuff. But it's not 'til August 11-21, so we've got a while to wait.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - No Theme

Well, we've got another no-theme week. So I think I'll take advantage of that and relay a conversation I had with Livie while we were in the car the other day.

See, I have satellite radio in my SUV. Liv and I like to listen to various types of music while we're driving somewhere, one of them being the occasional "Broadway" song.

Well, the other day, a song from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, came on (the calypso song). Now, I've seen this show 3 (or 4) times. I've seen the professional touring show 2 (or 3) times and then I saw my local community theater's performance. So I like listening to this show's songs when they're played on the Broadway channel.

So . . . the second time I saw the professional touring show was in the early '90s in Chicago. I think it was at the Chicago Theater. Anyway, my mom, brothers, Uncle Hector, my grandparents, and I went to see the show. I was really excited because it was a fun show to watch, with all the great songs, dancing, costumes, and such. And it starred Donny Osmond as Joseph, so that made it particularly fun - seeing a famous person perform and all.

So when Livie and I heard the song on satellite radio, I told her about the second time I saw the show.

Here's what happened. When we all got to the theater and went down the aisle to find our seats, I ended up next to Hector. At some point during the show, he'd made a comment about Donny Osmond's hair, and how he wasn't used to seeing Donny with "long" hair (it was about shoulder length).

I told Hector that it was a wig. I'd seen the show before and knew he'd come out for the curtain call without the wig. Plus, I'd seen him on TV doing a live interview just a few days prior, and saw that he was sporting his usual short hair.

But Hector didn't believe me. Every so often, he'd whisper a comment about how it was Donny's real hair, not a wig. He just couldn't get over Donny's long hair. I kept responding, "I'm telling you - it's a wig." But he just did not believe me. He kept insisting it was Donny's real hair!

So at the end when the actors came out for the curtain call, there was Donny Osmond with short hair! Hector and I looked at each other and laughed. All he could say was, "You were right! It was a wig!"

Livie got a kick out of this memory. She wondered a couple things, though. She wondered why Hector didn't believe me at first. And she wondered why a man would wear a wig. I told her that sometimes men, when they're acting, will wear wigs, just like ladies do (like Abuelita occasionally does when she ballroom dances). And as far as why Hector didn't believe me at first? Well, I explained that the costume and makeup people did a great job helping Donny get ready; that's why Hector thought the wig was real. They helped him make sure everything looked just right.

Since this post was about sharing a "Hector" memory with Livie, here's a photo of the two of them together. She was about 9-months-old in this photo.

Please come back next week when the Memory Lane Friday topic will be either another "No Theme" or "My Dad."

Memory Lane Friday is hosted weekly by Lisa at Two Bears Farm. Please click on the button below to read her post, as well as other contributors' posts: 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Last Night's Storm

We had some severe weather last night, complete with tornado warnings, 80 MPH winds, and hail. Here are some photos.

Some nasty-looking clouds have moved into the neighborhood.

The view out the back. Note that triangle shape - that's roof damage.

Another view from our back yard.

Here's a piece of hail.

The clouds are trying to move on. There's the sunset to the west.

Damage to the house! Again! Not happy!

This gigantic tree was knocked over.

This was such a great tree.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Breakfast with Sir Rafa

My grandfather, Sir Rafa, was always an early riser. Always. When I visited them in El Paso, TX, it didn't matter how early I got up (even if I got up before 6 AM), he was always up earlier. I used to wonder if the sun could only rise after Sir Rafa had gotten up - that's how early he arose.

Anyway, Sir Rafa loved going out for breakfast. That was one of the activities he truly enjoyed. While Oma always made the best breakfasts, there was something fun and tasty about going out for breakfast. And as a bonus, Oma would get the morning off, neither having to prepare the meal, nor having to clean up afterward.

It didn't matter if it were just to McDonald's down the street or the Burger King at Fort Bliss . . . or even to the local Village Inn on Hondo Pass Drive (the place he most often visited for breakfast, because it was close by and he got good service - plus, it seemed like everybody knew him there, like Cheers). He also loved Oma's favorite breakfast location: the Cracker Barrel on El Paso's west side.

Anytime I visited them, it seemed like we'd go out for breakfast at least once (possibly twice, depending on how long I was staying). Usually it was just the two of us - me and Sir Rafa. His reasoning was to give Oma a break in the morning - but like I said, it was also fun. Sometimes we'd get Oma to agree to come with us. However, I think she liked sending the two of us off, because she liked the time alone; that way, she could get ready at a leisurely pace without having to worry about taking care of Sir Rafa and me, too.

Here's how it would go. Typically, we'd be relaxing in the den or the kitchen in the evening after Oma and I cleaned the kitchen after dinner. They'd be watching TV and I'd be in there with them, reading, or maybe watching a movie with them. (One of Sir Rafa's favorites was a movie called Junior, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Emma Thompson - but this is a story for another time.)

Then Sir Rafa would ask me if I thought I could be ready to go out early the next morning. It always seemed like he'd ask me out of the blue, but I'm sure he'd had it planned for hours - or even from the first moment I'd walked in the door upon arriving in El Paso. He would also never tell me why he wanted me to be ready extra early. But I knew why. We were going out for breakfast the next morning.

Like I said, it didn't matter how early I got up. It didn't matter how quickly I got ready. When I walked out of my room, he'd be at the kitchen table, reading the paper and drinking a small glass of juice. After seeing if Oma were coming with us, and finding that she'd decided to stay home and get ready, he and I would head out. I always drove. He usually made comments about his finally having a chauffeur.

If it were just the two of us, then we'd usually head to the Village Inn on Hondo Pass Drive. The servers would always greet him. "Good morning, Ralph," or, "How are you this morning, Ralph?" and so on. (His name was Rafael, so most people called him Ralph.) If the server who was waiting on our table hadn't met me yet, he'd always introduce us. No matter which server waited on our table, we always got around to chatting with her for a few minutes, whenever she had a few moments of free time, that is.

Once we were finished, he'd hand me a piece of gum (usually spearmint, or sometimes cinnamon) and we'd head home . . . but not before making an "important" stop first. See, there was a gas station on Hondo Pass, just before it curved south and turned into Magnetic Drive. He'd ask me to stop there. Once parked, he'd give me a few dollars in cash. He'd then have me go in and get three scratch tickets (you know, the scratch lottery tickets), one for him, one for me, and one for Oma. Then we were ready to head home.

We'd walk in from the garage, through the laundry room, and into the kitchen. Oma would be in there, just finishing her breakfast. He'd pass out the scratch tickets, a quarter for each of us, and we'd scratch away. Sometimes Oma and I would win a buck, or a new scratch lotto ticket, but most often, it was nothing. I think I won a buck on a few rare occasions. Sir Rafa? He was usually the one who most often won something off those scratch tickets, whether it was just $1, or a new scratch ticket, or some other amount of money. I remember one time after breakfast when he won $5. We stopped at the gas station later and he had me buy 5 scratch tickets with that $5. And once, when I wasn't there, he'd won $500 off a scratch ticket!

It's fun remembering those days. I miss those breakfast outings. I was reminiscing about them this past Sunday, when I took Livie to the Bluebird Diner in Iowa City. We each had pancakes, bacon, orange juice. It was fun, just the two of us. That's why I was thinking of similar outings I'd had with my grandfather.

So, I told Livie about those days while we waited for our breakfast. She'd asked at one point if I'd ever taken her to breakfast with Sir Rafa. I'd said "No, because you hadn't been born yet. And when you were born and we visited them, you were just a tiny baby, and didn't eat regular food yet - only milk. But if you had been old enough, Sir Rafa would've made sure you came with us. I can guarantee that."

I got a little sad thinking that she never had the pleasure of going out for breakfast with her great-grandfather. But then I realized something. We can't go out to breakfast with him anymore. But I'm sure he was at breakfast with us, in spirit.

Sir Rafa and Baby Livie, El Paso, TX, 16 June 2006. She was almost 4-months-old.
Just a little background on the photo. This is Sir Rafa enjoying Baby Livie's company, just days after she and I arrived in El Paso from Boston. I'd gotten a new assignment (in the Air Force) in Alamogordo, NM, which was just over an hour from my grandparents' place. We'd flown out to El Paso (the closest major airport), and I took a couple days of leave to spend time with them before heading north to Alamogordo.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Your Sunday Best - 4 Jun 2011

Mr. Sniffer, the Westie, circa early 1990s.
 This is Mr. Sniffer. My brother, Joe, named him. He's a West Highland White Terrier, or Westie.

He belonged to my grandparents when they lived in El Paso, TX. I chose this photo because I was thinking of him this week after seeing someone else's Westie walking through my neighborhood.

Plus, the photo is cute; it looks like he's sniffing that plant. He was actually just seeing what I was doing out in my grandparents' flowerbed. (I was taking pictures, of course.) And it shows his "I know everything that's going on in my yard" attitude.

"Your Sunday Best" is hosted weekly by Nancy at A Rural Journal. Please click on the button below to look at her entry, as well as other contributors' photos:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - 6th Grade

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "6th Grade." For some reason, I'm not remembering anything specific from school for 6th grade. But I'[m pretty sure the horse memory I'm thinking of was from my my year in 6th grade. Yes, of course, I have to write about an equestrian memory . . .

This memory is from a spring horse show toward the end of the school year (probably over a whole weekend), or maybe during the course of a few days, right after the school year ended.

I had my gray horse, Chico; he and I made a great team. We were so in tune with each other, he'd become known as a "push button" horse. That means that you could basically just think of what you wanted him to do, and he'd do it, with only the slightest of cues from the rider's (in other words MY) legs, seat, and hands.

Anyway, we'd gone to this show in town, and I was so excited. It was basically down the road from the stable where Chico was boarded, so we didn't have to trailer him and stay in a hotel overnight (which was fun - don't get me wrong, but sometimes it was nice to show near home). And it was a BIG show, which made it even more exciting.

Well, one of these days of showing, Chico and I were in an "over fences" class, meaning that riders would go into the ring one at a time and jump a combination of fences (or "jumps"). This particular class was a "hunter class," being judged on how nice and smooth the horse went around the course; if it looked like the horse was super easy to ride around the course, then the rider did it right.

I memorized the course, and then Chico and I headed into the ring, when they called my number. We were going around nice and smooth. Now, I'm not sure exactly what happened next, but Chico and I came around a corner to a fence mid-course, and for some reason (probably mostly rider-error/maybe part horse error), Chico refused the fence. He basically just slammed on the breaks right before the jump. That caused me (at 11-12 years old, or thereabouts) to do a somersault over his head, landing on my back, right onto the little flower box right that decorated the front of the jump. I landed on that thing just above the kidney area.

It knocked the wind out of me, of course. And it startled me, more than anything else. As I tried to sit up, I saw a familiar face running toward me. It was my dad. He had gotten off work and had headed over to the show area in hopes of watching me ride a bit. I'm assuming that since my mom was there watching, she had sent him out to see if I was okay.

I was okay, of course, after catching my breath, my pride taking the most damage. My riding instructor had caught Chico, and led him back to me. Once I got up and indicated I was okay, my dad left the ring, leaving the pep talk to my instructor. She told me to get right back on, which I did (with a leg up from her). I don't remember the pep talk, but I do remember being ready to get right back on, in hopes that I could finish the course.

She told me to trot right over to the judges' stand to ask if I could take that one refused fence before I left the ring. I was nervous about doing that, but I didn't question her. I just did it, lightbulb going on over my head, realizing I wouldn't be able to finish the rest of the course - but hoping I could do just that one fence.

I remember asking, "May I jump that one jump before leaving the ring?" and getting a "Yes. Good job getting right back on, young lady."

So I went and did that one jump Chico had refused, and then trotted out of the ring. With a quick "I'm okay" to my mom and dad, and a "What now?" to my coach, I was told I could head back to the barn and put Chico up for the night (remember, this show was near the stable where we kept Chico). That class had been my last of the day.

As I rode Chico up the path from the show to the stable, I suddenly started crying. I was really upset that I'd fallen off. Okay, it happens sometimes, and I wasn't hurt, but it was the last class of the day. I was crying with disappointment at how I ended that day of showing.

Anyway, I guess I was also crying because I was a pre-teen and, well . . . you know how hormonal and upset pre-teens can get, right? I was just plain upset!

I did, however, wake up the next day with a big, ol' rectangular bruise on my back. I was actually a bit sore from the fall, but it didn't affect my ability to show the next day.

Here's a photo from that very same show. It was a day when I'd won some ribbons, and for one class, even some money for coming in 3rd or 4th place! (I remember a check having been stapled to the back of my ribbon.)

This was in the day before we were required to wear ASTM/SEI riding helmets. Photo ©Rick Bate

Thanks form stopping by and reading today's memory. I appreciate it. Come back next week when we have another "No Theme" Memory Lane Friday!

Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Lisa at Two Bears Farm. Please click on the button below to read her entry, as well as other contributors' entries:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Our Trip to the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad and Museum

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Livie, Nonno, Andrew, and I took a train ride on the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad. We all had a lot of fun riding in a Pullman car (with a snack bar in the dining car, which was connected to the one we were riding). Our trip went from Boone to Fraser (an old mining town) before heading back to Boone. We even went over this super tall trestle (I think it's something like 190 feet tall), which made Livie think we were actually flying!

Andrew had a blast, since he's a BIG train fan. He was telling us all sorts of info about the trains that we saw (and the one that we rode).

Here are some of the photos from that ride:

Here's the entrance.

Nonno and Livie are looking at the ticket booth exhibit in the museum.

Thumbs up! We're excited to ride the train!

Thumbs up, again! We're looking around the museum before we board.

Here's a quick shot of the ticket counter exhibit in the museum.

This is the train we're going to ride.

Here's the railway we're riding.

The water tower!

Another view of the train . . .
When we told Livie what this sign said, she cracked up and asked me to take a photo of it!

Daddy and Livie are looking around.

These are some of the museum items.

Posing in front of a train!

We were impressed by this steam train.

Livie loved the caboose.

Livie and Andrew are giving thumbs up. Nonno is giving Livie horns.

We're just about to head out of the station.

Guess who's excited!

Taking in the scenery . . .

They're being hams for the camera!

We've stopped in Fraser while they move the engine to the other end of the train. We also took this opportunity to visit the "snack car" which had treats (sodas, chips, cookies, etc). 

The Pullman car seats were made in Wakefield, MA.

We're just about to go over the trestle (and we're approximately 190 feet up). A still photo doesn't do it justice.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...