Monday, July 30, 2012

The Championship Game(s)

You may have wondered how the Championship game went since I haven't updated this recently.

It's hard to be upset when you realize the team from Pacifica, a town that had never had a Little League team make it to the finals, beat every team, including the team that ended up winning the whole thing.  They just didn't beat them twice.  But, hey, they did an AWESOME job.
Some of Spencer's support squad

I enjoyed every (nail biting at times) minute of the whole week.

Spencer warming up Thursday

Debbie with her cheer - thingy (boy am I bad - one of the Mom's made those for each of the kid's Moms, whatever you'd call them)

The teams and Umps lined up just before the National Anthem

Thursday was the first of what turned out to be two Championship games.  It was a VERY close game.  Stayed 0-0 through 4 innings.  In the 5th Woodcreek scored two runs, which proved to be enough.  It ended with a score of 2-0.

Spencer playing 2nd base Thursday

Friday's game was the tie breaker.  Since both Pacifica American and Woodcreek had each lost one game (to each other), it was winner take all.  Pacifica American scored in the top of the first, but that ended up as their only run.  The final was 11-1.  Bummer.  But Spencer played very well.  He got a couple hits, and I even have a video of his double down the first base line.  Check it out:

After the game was over Ken and I went to his cousin's to celebrate our 21st Wedding Anniversary.  Yep, we've been married 21 years!  Whoo Hoo!

While the day wasn't exactly what we planned when we'd been deciding what to do to celebrate, it was still a fantastic day.  We were able to spend a good portion of the day with family that we don't usually get to hang out with.  We've seen Aunt Jan and Uncle Al more in the last week then we probably have in a few years!  Same with Joe and Heidi and certainly Debbie and Spencer.  Pretty cool!

What better way to celebrate, than with family?

On our 21st Anniversary

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Next Stop is the Championship Game

First I wanted to point out some of the signs at the Rancho Murieta Baseball Complex regarding Sportsmanship.

 I've heard many examples recently of poor sportsmanship and I appreciate seeing someone promoting good sportsmanship. 

Now that I'm off that soapbox, I've been thinking of the best way to write up last night's game where Spencer's team, Pacifica American played Woodcreek, the local Roseville team.  I 'm going to try something different.  

Because my In-Laws couldn't be here to watch the tournament I have been texting them updates throughout each game.  Last night I sent quite a few, and am thinking that they might help show the timeline and my excitement (or angst) fairly well.  Yes, I've edited them a bit.

I hope you enjoy the game as much as I did:

6:22pm Got Spencer to the field in plenty of time for his game.  My stress (slight) is gone :-) game starts @ 7:30.  Will keep you posted.

7:21pm Spencer warming up (with picture)

7:54pm End of 1st.  0-0.  We're visitors

8:07pm Spencer singled for a 2 out rbi to make it 2-0.  End of 2nd.

I was lucky to video Spencer's RBI single

Spencer's on 2nd in this photo

The fans - Can you spot Ken, Gary and Jan?  Anyone else you know?

 8:43pm Struck out on a called strike that was WAY outside.  2-1 middle of 4th
(Note:  The umpires are human, but boy was it hard to watch Spencer walk away from the plate when I (and others) believed the pitch was a ball.  I've got to give Spencer lots of credit.  He didn't complain, throw a bat, or anything.  He took the call with grace.  Talk about Sportsmanship!)

9:01pm #25 hit a 3 run home run!  5-1.  Middle of 5th

9:29pm omg.  Gave up 4 runs. Spencer made a force out at home plate to end inning.  Tied 5-5

9:44pm Spence hit by pitch.  Fine.  Andrew hit grand slam!  I'm dying of stress.  10-5.  Middle of 6.  Omg.  AMAZING game!
(Note: another player hit a bomber home run right after that, but I don't remember his name/number.  I think it was # 25 again because he hit two home runs in the game.)

9:55pm Spence catching entire game.  Woodcreek player strikes out (picture).  Bases loaded.  10-7.  2 outs.

Can you feel the stress everyone (on both sides) was feeling at this point???  The bases were LOADED.  Woodcreek was down by 3 runs.  A Grand Slam would win it.  A solid base hit could tie it!!!  How was it going to play out???!!!!!


9:57pm Strike out looking to WIN!!!!!!

Hooray!!!!  Pacifica American WON!

(Note: my last text at 9:57pm is an example of text messaging without proper punctuation and how it can be misinterpreted... The way I meant it was "the player struck out looking (didn't swing his bat), Pacifica WINS!!!"  The way it was interpreted was "Need a strike out.  Looking to WIN!!" and this was my last text of the night.  My poor In-Laws were waiting to hear if they got the strike out they were looking for and if the team won.  They finally were able to get through on the phone to find out that in fact, Pacifica American HAD WON!)  

I've learned my lesson and will try to take more care on future texts!  Sorry for the torture I put you through DMIL!!! :-)

The series is a double elimination series.  That means that teams have to be defeated twice to be out of the series. 

Lets hope, pray and put positive energy out there for Pacifica American who will now play Thursday night for what we hope will be the Northern California Division 2 Championship for 9 and 10 year olds. 

Go Pacifica!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Watching my Nephew Play in a Baseball Tournament

Self Portrait with Jan and Al on Saturday

My first weekend at home in a while.  Didn't get to sleep in as much as I wanted on Saturday, but I did sleep in on Sunday.  Saturday I had a good reason to get up.  My Nephew Spencer was going to be in Rancho Murieta playing in a Baseball Tournament.

His team, the Pacifica American Little League have made it to the Championship series being played here in Rancho Murieta.  The first team from Pacifica to make it this far, is what I hear.  He's the only 9 year old on the 9-10 year old team and today I was thrilled to be able to watch him play ball.

Spencer playing Second Base early in the game

The game started at 10am at Stonefield Park (a VERY nice setup in Rancho Murieta, by the way) and Ken and I were there.  Spencer played well, Ken was impressed with his patience in waiting on pitches.  Quite the ball player.  He walked twice, including an RBI walk.  He played Second Base for a few innings then moved to catcher for the second half of the game.  They won with a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 7th to tie it up, followed by an RBI single to win.  Very exciting game!

Spencer before the inning started
 Spencer catching the second half of the game --->
 Listening to his coach before his at bat

Game two was Sunday at 1pm.  Ken had his own baseball game to play in so I I went to watch Spencer on my own.  It was the hottest day yet.  The car said it was 106 when the game was over.  I'd guess it was more like 102, but still, not much difference between 102 and 106.

Spencer pitching Sunday

Spencer was starting pitcher for Sunday's game.  He did a nice job.  My camera would only focus on the fence though, so I only have one photo and a short video clip.

Spencer pitching and good fielding supporting him.

They won 16-1 in 4 innings.  Ken's team won, too.  A good baseball day all around.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool. Ahhhhhhhhh.  :-)

Their next game is Tuesday evening.  I'm sure they'll appreciate the cooler weather at that time.

Go Pacifica American!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our Final Day in Reno

Saturday, our final day at the show.  Our final day in Reno

Saturday, like most of the other days of the show, started with an early wake up.  Prep for multiple horses showing meant lots of work to get done.  And yes, I wondered why Blu managed to have two classes, almost back to back, on the last day of the show when they could have spread them out to any of the other days where there were no Half Arabian Western Pleasure classes.  But what are you going to do?  It was what it was.

Because it was the last day of the show, there was also a change in attitude about many things.  Everyone has an eye on the clock, people are starting to tear down, and exhaustion has set in.

But before our barn can think about tear down, Blu had two classes scheduled.  Todd qualified with Blu in the Half Arabian Western Pleasure Junior Horse and in the Half Arabian Western Pleasure Open classes and those were both scheduled right before, and right after, the lunch break.  With a bit more than an hour until his first class, the Junior Horse class, I started work on getting Blu prepped.  Right on schedule (we did a pretty good job of staying on schedule all week, with the exception of my class Friday night, and even that worked out to being pretty close to on schedule) Todd took Blu to the warm up arena.

But that arena was crazy.  Crazier than I'd seen it all week.  I didn't count, but there had to be 10 horses and 20+ people standing in the center of the warm up arena in the Livestock Pavilion, leaving a path about 20 feet wide around them for 10-15 horses to warm up at any one time.  Luckily the ring steward had his microphone and consistently instructed people to ride in the same direction.  But not everyone rides at the same speed.  So there were some walking, some jogging and some loping.  And they weren't all Western horses so some were very fast and animated (the English Pleasure) while others were slow (Western Pleasure).

Blu is still young and doesn't realize yet that the other horses aren't out to eat him.  So Todd opted to ride in the outdoor arena where there were only a few horses warming up.  That helped Blu a lot.  Though he was still more animated than usual.  Todd looked at his jaw where the Bosal sits and noticed a small mark and bump.  We weren't sure if it was a tooth issue, or a rubbing issue, but it appeared to be bothering Blu.  We used tape to smooth the Bosal and keep it from irritating Blu too much.

When they called the class I walked down the tunnel beside Blu and Todd and wished them luck with a smile!  I ran (ok, jogged) up the steps and over to our usual spot to watch the class.  With fingers crossed on both hands I sat at the edge of my seat and tried to keep my heart from beating out of my chest!

I don't honestly think I can say what all was going on around me.  My focus was 100% on Blu.  They had a beautiful ride.  And I'm kicking myself for not pulling my camera out of my groom bag, but the show photographer did take a couple photos ( you can see the show proofs here ).  But alas, the judges didn't call out # 111 for a Top 5.

When I met Todd outside the arena we discussed Blu's jaw and the Bosal, and the fact that he wasn't picked for Top 5 in the Junior Horse class so wouldn't be likely to be picked in the Open class (where he'd be competing against horses of all ages and experience levels) and we opted to scratch the last class.  It wasn't going to be for at least an hour, and that would be just enough time for Blu to settle down before we'd have to wind him up again and we just didn't think it was fair to Blu to put him through that after he had such a nice go in the Junior Horse class.  A bummer, and one of the issues I had with having the classes fairly close together over such a long show.

But with that decision made, there were no more classes for anyone at the barn.  It was time for SUSHI!!!

A couple years ago when we were at Regionals we'd gone to The Peppermill's Oceano Restaurant and had Sushi.  We'd been waiting this time around until Ken was with us so we could all go and feast together.  We piled into a big booth and when the waiter mentioned "all you can eat sushi" we all jumped at it ($17.95pp).  And feast, we did!!!  Yum!!

A positive with feasting on Sushi is that even when you're absolutely full to the gills (ha) you're not uncomfortable.

A good thing, because when we got back to the barn it was decided that we'd tear down and everyone could head home a day early.  Tear down took about an hour.  Quite different from setup!  But still super hot, since we started about 3pm.  Got a bit dizzy at one point, too.  I lost count of how much water I drank.

A trip to the hotel to shower and pack our suitcases and we were off.  Ken in the MINI and me in the truck.

Were we really done?  Was the show really over?  Had it really been a WHOLE week?

Yep.  To all three.

I am happy as can be about the whole show.  Not everything went as planned, but there were no true disasters.  I learned a lot.  Gained valuable experience and confidence.  But best of all I spent a week with some amazing people.  The greatest of friends whom I cherish more and more every day.  And whom I appreciate more than they can know.

And my husband was there with me.  I will always have my memory of him along the rail with his arms up in the air saying "You .... Rule" (he knows what goes in the middle).  I love you, Ken!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday at the Show

Before my class

Friday was an early morning – 5:45am alarm.  The morning was spent prepping and cheering on others competing.  Mid afternoon we went to the River (Truckee) Walk area – well, I’m not sure if that’s the official name, but it is a nice, modern area along the river where we found a very nice restaurant which I think was called the Wild River Grille (why do they add an “e” to grill?).  Since we’d been outside all week, even though the weather was comparably mild, we opted for an inside table so we could enjoy the air conditioning. And enjoy it, we did.

I'd like to recommend a new drink that was created at our table – their homemade Lemonade (Pomegranate flavor) with a shot of Sailor Jerry Rum – dubbed the “The Sexy Sally.”  I’ll say it now, so that when we go back someday we can see if it’s on their cocktail menu and can “prove” it came from us.   Their homemade Potato Chips were also yummy.  My only complaint?  Their prices were high.

Lunch was 6 hours before my class, so yes, I did enjoy the one cocktail.  Would have liked to have another, though!  But I wanted to be on my “A” game come 7pm when the evening classes began.

I spent the afternoon putzing around and anxiously awaiting Ken’s arrival.  Oh, and napping on the chairs under the gazebo, beating the heat any way I could.

My nerves were doing really well.  I was pretty surprised.  Though I shouldn’t have been, (surprised, that is) because they came to the forefront later…but more on that later.  Ken arrived about 5:30pm and I was over the moon happy to see him!  A week is a long time to be apart.  I’m not sure how we did it back when I was a consultant on the road five days a week, 45+ weeks of the year.  Our friends Mike and Debbie came out to watch too!  How fun to have so many people there to party and have fun with us.  I enjoyed about 45 minutes of sitting and catching up/swapping stories before it was time to go to the camper to get myself dressed and ready for the class while the others got Blu all spiffy and sparkly.  (It’s a great benefit that we have, being the super team we are, because when we’re not showing we get the other horse(s) in the barn ready for those who are showing so they can prepare themselves without having to also prepare their horse.)

My nerves started to get the better of me when 1) the heat became stifling in the camper – the AC still didn’t work because we didn’t have power to the camper and the generator still wouldn’t start! and 2) I could hear the announcer say 20 minute call to the time I knew I needed to be ready, to then hear him say 5 minutes later, 3rd call, which meant I needed to be up at the arena ready to get on Blu.  Yikes!  What happened to those extra 15 minutes?  Then a knock on the camper door.  I had to run!  Crap.  That started the heart pumping and the nerves jumping.  Ah well, it was bound to happen, even though I truly tried to not let my nerves get the better of me.

Todd was riding Blu and he (Blu) was nice and calm.  He switched out the snaffle for the Bosal and I mounted up.  I was shaking with nerves!  Poop (to put it semi-politely).  Telegraph to Blu that I was nervous and voila! He picked it up.  I take 100% of the blame.  We worked in the warm up arena and I was glad the class before mine ended up taking a long-ish time.  Because it gave me a chance to work through SOME of my nerves!  It was like it was my first show ever!  I suppose the thought of being at “the big show” finally got to me.  They called for the class to enter at about 8pm.  The middle class of the evening’s entertainment was ours.  Half-Arabian Western Pleasure Adult Amateur to Ride.

Me and my best friend!

We entered at the jog and Blu was good.  I even had my picture taken by the show photographer ( you can see the show proofs here ) and smiled.  They called for us to reverse almost immediately, which is great in my book.  Because it meant I got to switch things up a bit.  Then they called for the lope and we got the correct lead (one of the main worries when going into the lope as to get the wrong lead is a disqualifying penalty) but we were fast.  My nerves finally worked their way out into Blu and he went faster than desired.  But I rode it well, at least, with 13 horses in the class.  However, since this is the best of the best, having a fault like a fast ride doesn’t allow for a placing in the Top 5.  (Speaking of Top 5, that’s how the awards go at this show.  The Top 5 horses make the cut and if you’re not in the Top 5 you didn’t place.  Then they pick the Champion and Reserve Champion out of the Top 5.  It’s super tough competition, with horses from all over including Canada). 

But I had fun, and was a very happy lady when I got into the line up.  Especially when the photographer’s wife (his assistant) came up to me and said “I haven’t seen you all week and I’ve been looking for you” and then she called to her husband (who was sitting in the center area with the judges) and had him come out to take a photo of us.  Actually, two.  She was so cute, she told him he had to take two photos, one on each side because Blu had such a different look from either side.  And I’m really glad she took two because I BLINKED in the first photo!  Sheesh.  But the second line up shot I love!

When we got outside the pavilion it was after 8:30 and the sun was setting.  The clouds were a beautiful shade of pink, reminding me of the DAHA show in October (or was it September?) and my Mom, who took that great shot of Ken and I and Blu before our night class.  And I knew my Mom and Dad had been thinking of me while they were somewhere around the Shetland Island(s?) and I’m sure it helped me out with all the positive ‘horsey’ vibes they sent my way.

With Blu put away, and me changed out of my new show outfit, it was time to hang out and chill with everyone for an hour or so under the gazebo.  But alas, the life of a horse show continued and we knew we had an early morning Saturday, so with the firework from the Reno AAA Baseball team (the Reno Aces) shooting off in the background we all said good night and headed back to the Sands for what turned out to be our last night in Reno.
After the class - smiling!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday and Thursday at the Show

Went to the El Dorado Buffet for breakfast.  At 7:30am.  It opens at 7:45am.  Who opens a breakfast buffet at 7:45am?  Anyway…..we got seated at about 8am and ate a pretty good breakfast.  The selection was great, but I guess my stomach had shrunk over the last 24 hours.  :-)  I was good and ate mostly good stuff (and ate it off a salad plate, so while my plate was full, it was a small plate).  Cottage Cheese with apricots and pears.  Yum.  And I tried their Eggs Benedict (not recommended), but mainly I ate their scrambled eggs and crispy bacon.  (can’t ever go wrong with bacon!!!)

I got to the barn at 9am and Todd had already worked Blu.  Turns out Blu is not feeling his best.  That’s why he was not himself last night.  When Todd brought him back to the barn he (Blu) blew a couple “snot rockets” (hehe - how gross does that sound?!).  But we’re hoping it’s either altitude or “kindergarten” illnesses – you know - kids go to Kindergarten for the first time and come home with cold after cold?  So it was decided to see how he did as the morning progressed and make a decision about whether we could show in the afternoon class.

When I saw he had a tiny bit of a bloody nose later in the morning it was a no brainer.  I went to the show office and scratched our class.  It truly sucks to have to do that.  Not only for the cost of the class lost, but the lost opportunity to show.  Especially because it is/was a Championship class.  But ah well.  Blu's health and well being comes first!  [note:  so you won't worry, that ended up being the extent of his illness, or whatever it was.  No more snot or blood and no vet.  Blu is fine.]
The rest of the day was fun.  The theme of the day was "Patriotic" and we decorated in Red White and Blue.  So of course I had to have a couple photos with Blu (whose registered name is Red White N Blu) and our decorations. (and since I didn't show today I couldn't use my new American Flag saddle pad.  Boo.)

When the show was over for the day we went to the Barn Party for a bit, too.  That’s where many of the different barns offer food/drinks/desserts and you can wander from barn to barn visiting with everyone.  Our barn wasn't an official stop on the tour but we had music playing and were having such fun that people came by because they could hear our laughter!

Tonight is an “early” night.  Actually in my hotel room at 9:30pm!  But then tomorrow is an early morning.  Another 7:30 am Halter class!  Wish us luck!!

It’s now Thursday night, 10:30pm and I’m in my hotel room.  It was a good day all around.  The Halter class went well and afterwards we all went out to breakfast and were finished by 9:30.  A trip to a favorite Western Store – D Bar M – found me buying a pretty pair of Vogt earrings for showing.  They’re small Sterling Silver engraved conchos that I hope will be complimentary to any outfit, and aren’t dangly, so they won’t distract.  That’s the plan at least.  Let’s see if I actually remember to wear them tomorrow night! 

Back to the barn to find Todd riding Blu.  He’s doing much better and I think that he probably had a touch of any number of things: being a youngster/heat he hasn’t seen in a year and a half (since he left his last home) and/or altitude.

I picked up my new outfit (I changed my mind on the blue top with the crystals and opted for a brown, sequined top and cream chaps), and can’t wait to wear it.  But I don’t have light colored boots so I’m not sure I’ll be able to wear the new chaps. But we’ll see.  They look so pretty!

About 2pm we decided to see if a mythical hamburger, the "Awful-Awful" really existed. 

Ken has been telling me about the “Awful-Awful” for years.  He goes to Reno a couple times a year and usually has one.  Yet, whenever he and I are in Reno together, we can’t manage to get to the old Nugget.  So I’ve been teasing him for a long time saying that I don’t think the burger exists.  

Now I also think it’s kind of funny that we went to the wrong Nugget first.  I was texting with Ken letting him know we were going in search of the Awful-Awful and he said it was two doors up from Fitzgerald's.  Oops.  We were at the wrong Nugget.  Luckily we hadn’t gotten out of the car yet.  So back on the freeway – in nasty traffic – and we drive back to within blocks of our hotel.  Doh!  But as we drive by the old Nugget, on Virginia Street, I see the sign that says it’s the home of the Awful-Awful.  Hmmm.  Maybe it does exist.

If you’ve never been to the old Nugget, it’s a hole in the wall.  At least as compared to the current Reno casinos (not to mention Vegas).  It’s about 50 feet wide and 200 feet deep.  First half are slots and a bar, second half is the diner.  No AC in the diner portion.  (It’s been an average of 98-100 every day we’ve been here)  We went to the counter, looked at a menu but realized that, duh, we were here for a specific burger.  Without seeing this burger I ordered it.  Sat down at a table by the bar, which had some AC and looked at the table next to us to see a MOUNTAIN of a burger on an ocean of fries.  Wow.  I then took a closer look at the menu and saw that it is a ½ pound burger served on a pound (yes POUND) of French fries.   What have I gotten myself into?

Here’s our table after the burgers were served….the four baskets took up almost the whole table.
I also saw a sign that said this won “Food Wars”

I texted that photo to Ken to let him know we’d made it to the right place.  Though I didn’t know how I was going to eat it!  I figured out a way.

 (sorry about the weird shadow on the picture.  Don't know what was going on)

I couldn’t finish the burger, I did manage to eat about ½ and then eat the remaining charred edges of the burger and bun.  Yum!  And I barely even made a dent in the fries.

I have to agree with Ken that the burger is definitely amazing.  And I learned that it is called the Awful-Awful because it is “Awful Big and Awful Good” (or something like that).

With a full tummy I went back to the hotel for a nap.  First one [and only] of the week.  Then it was back to the barn to saddle Blu and get in another workout.  The Silver Sire Futurity show was going on so we couldn’t ride in the main arena.  Todd rode Blu in the Rodeo Arena.  It was dark and I couldn’t see very well and they didn't have the lights on, so even though Blu could see fine I decided to opt out of riding him in the dark.  We finished up the night watching some of the Silver Sire Breeders Show to see what it’s all about.  Beautiful horses.  Halter classes.  All sired by horses that were nominated (I think) as a Silver Sire.  Now if I sound vague, it’s because I really don’t know what it’s all about.  But I’ll go to their booth tomorrow to find out.  If I have time.  [I didn't...]

Now it’s time to turn out the lights on another fun day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuesday at the Show

Tuesday was an early day.  Little E, the cute little Half Arabian/Quarter Horse Mare was showing in the first class of the morning.  7:30am.  So the alarm was set for 5:30am and I got to the barn at 6:30 in time to help with the  final primping of Little E.  Always fun glamming up the horses.                                                   

Little E with her owner

Once the class was done we were done with showing for the day.  It was really nice to be finished so early because it gave us all time to get all the chores done and such.  Cleaning tack was high on the list of chores so I was sitting down cleaning Blu’s headstall when I looked up to see my friend Mike walking down the barn isle.  It was so good to see him and visit for a while.  We hadn’t seen each other in a few years so there was definitely catching up to do! 

Mid afternoon I saddled up Blu and rode around the show grounds, just checking stuff out.  Not any kind of arena work, just touring.  I even got to visit with Blu’s old owner, Nicole.  And Blu saw his first baby stroller.  He wasn’t sure what it was as it was being carried down the staircase.  A few sideways steps with arched neck as he watched it, and I remembered my lesson "forward is good" and squeezed my legs to push him forward and he was fine.  We followed the stroller for a hundred yards to make sure and he couldn’t care less about it once it was on the ground and rolling.  His first stroller lesson!

After that I washed Blu and then headed down to Carson City to meet some other friends for dinner.  Ate at the cafĂ© in the Fandango Casino.  I had Beef Stroganoff.  It was on the drive down to dinner that I realized that I hadn’t eaten since 2pm Monday when we’d gone to Carrows (I had a yummy burger with Avocado and Bacon).  Um, me going more than 24 hours with out eating?!?  (I guess I sort of ate Monday around midnight when crackers and cheese and salami were put on the table, but I think I only ate a few crackers, if memory serves, so I don’t know how much that counts).  Anyway, I was a bit shaky, but felt much better once I’d eaten. 

This is an early morning view of our gazebo

It was straight back to the barn after dinner to get my second (night) ride in the main arena.

I rode in the warm up arena (the Livestock Pavilion) which is connected to the main arena by a tunnel and is where we will be riding before I enter my class.  And it was going nicely.  Blu’s lope was a bit fast, but nothing bad.  He rode into the tunnel (I’ll have to get a picture of this tunnel [oops forgot to do this].  It’s a downhill, hard floored, 50 foot tunnel that opens into the main arena) like a champ and we jogged into the arena like we would for a class.  He was great!  We jogged around the arena for a bit but when I asked him for the lope he wouldn't pick it up.  We worked some more, but it just wasn’t happening.  Todd got on and same thing.  So we aren’t sure if there’s something physically wrong, or if he had just reached his limit on stimuli.  Because any time we’re warming up in the big arena it’s kinda crazy.  Horses going every which way at all different speeds and you wind your way through it all.  Kinda like trial by fire.  Makes the classes nice because everyone goes the same direction in a class.

We ended the night at about 10:30 figuring we’ll see how Blu does in the morning.

And now it is Wednesday morning and I’m all caught up.  But I have to have breakfast first!  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunday and Monday at the Show

It’s Tuesday (the 10th) at 2:10pm and I’ll see if I can catch up from where I left off writing Monday night.

I’m at the hotel taking a shower and change of clothes.  Getting a hotel room turns out to be a godsend!  Not only because I can’t get the generator to start in the camper (which means no AC because we’re not supposed to plug in at the barn) but because I have a SHOWER that has incredible water pressure and I don’t have to worry about filling up the tanks in the camper.  Ahhhhhh.

Maybe too much info, but let me tell you, horse show life, especially at 100 degrees is a hot and sweaty thing.  Multiple showers a day makes it all possible.

So, back to where I was before I stopped writing last night.  I was talking about Sunday afternoon…..after leaving the cool arena I went to the show office and got my number (Lucky # 111) and found out Todd Azevedo Training was in barn 21.  Off I went to find it and lo and behold Todd and Darlene were already there and had unloaded the horses.  That meant it was time to start unloading the trailer and our vehicles and get our dressing/groom/tack stalls set up and ready for the week.

We had purchased a pretty new gazebo and plants and after getting all that set up and all our tack and equipment put away all of us sat down to take a breath.  Know what time that was?  


Yep, after midnight.  It took from 5pm till then to get set up on Sunday.  Wow.  

But it looks pretty darned good, if I say so myself!!!

And that wasn’t even the night I started typing this.  All that was Sunday.

Next up was Monday.  My one day to sleep in.  Woke up at about 8 and after a leisurely morning ate at Mels at the Sands.  Ugh.  Wasn’t good.  Ah well, on to the Livestock Center for my first full day at the show.

No one from our barn was showing Monday – it was the last day of the “Last Chance Show” where if you haven’t qualified yet, you have one “Last Chance” to earn enough points to show in the Championship Show.  So Monday was a day to get to know the flow.  Pretty relaxing and enjoyable to be at a show a whole day before anyone of us has to show.

Once the sun set and the day’s classes were over the main arena was open so we could get a chance to ride inside, where I’ll be showing later in the week.

It was one of those “AHHHHHH” moments, walking down the tunnel into the HUGE arena with beautiful footing, a pretty center area where the announcer sits and the judges get to relax between classes, and seating for 4000 (I’m guessing – I haven’t looked up what the seating is at the Reno Livestock Events Center and now that I found out the Sands doesn’t have free Wi-Fi I’m not going to be able to look it up, or to post this, for that matter….)

Anyway, I digress.  Todd rode Blu for about 20 minutes and he was amazing!  Then it was my turn to get on.  I had butterflies and had to just sit on Blu for a bit, taking it all in, realizing that I earned my way into this show.  Wow.  I was there.

I won’t say it was anticlimactic riding Blu around.  That's not the right word.  But I'm tired and it’s more that it’s anticlimactic writing about it the next day, and not knowing exactly what to say to describe it.

But I truly enjoyed myself.  Blu was great.  And I was looking forward to the next ride.  Which would turn out to be Tuesday afternoon.

Once I was done riding there were more chores to do.  It was 10:30pm when I was walking Blu back to the barn after my ride.  Didn’t head to the hotel until 11:30pm.  Showered and thus it was 12:15am when I was last writing this.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm Home! I'll Start the Catch Up Now...

I'd like to begin by saying that the Sands didn't have free wi-fi and I wasn't willing to spend $5.99 an hour (or $9.99 for 24 hours when I was only at the hotel (awake) for an hour or so each day) to get Internet access.  So I wrote everything on a Word document as I went and am starting to transfer my (oh so exciting) prose.

And now it begins....

So, today is day two.  Or is it one?  Or three?  It’s hard to tell because I can’t decide if it started Sunday when I drove to Reno, or if it started today (Monday) which was my first full day at the show.  Or it could possibly have started Saturday, my first day of vacation.

Ah well.  Any way I figure it, I’m having a great time!

Sunday, driving up and over the Sierra with the truck and camper had me spending as much time watching the thermostat on the dash as watching the road.  I’m so conscious of the age of my truck and the load it carries that I don’t want to abuse it.  So, as has been my norm for years, I baby the truck and go as slow as some big rigs.  Though I did pass all those I came up on.  Well….until I got to just before the Nevada border, where if you’ve driven on I-80 any time in the last couple years after their construction, you’ll know that they have those barriers on the side of the road with NO shoulder.  So, with a wide camper I wasn’t about to try to pass a big rig on those turns in that narrow section.

Happily I made it to Reno without issue.  Though I couldn't exit at Wells to get to the Livestock Center.  Construction and detours meant I had to get off at Virginia and follow the detour signs.  Luckily their signage is good and I made it to Wells Ave with no trouble.

Finding our barn proved to be a bit more difficult.  The Barn office was closed.  At least, there wasn’t anyone inside.  And I didn’t see any signs or maps indicating who was stabled where.  So I walked up to the main show office and wouldn’t you know, it was between the afternoon session and the evening session so it was closed.  I sat and watched some folks working their horses, and wandered around the shopping area (the facility is an indoor one and it is air conditioned – heaven in the 95+ degree weather).  Seriously Fancy was there (they’re the mother/daughter team who sells consignment and custom show clothing – the one’s I bought my first outfits from) and they had a really pretty blue top with 1500 crystals that just sparkled.  I thought it would match my new Cowboy hat that I got while I was in Vegas.  I put a hold on it and planned to come back the next day with my hat to compare colors.
My boy Blu (and his stall sign)

Well, now it’s 12:15am and I have to get up at 5:30am tomorrow (Tuesday the 10th) so I’m going to continue this tomorrow…..

Saturday, July 7, 2012

T minus 1 Day

It's the day before I head to Reno for the Region 3 Championship Arabian Horse Show.

Am I ready?

Absolutely!  How's that for confidence!  

Do you believe me?  

My biggest concern is hoping I won't get a case of the nerves before my classes. I tell myself that everyone else in the classes with me are amateurs and in the same boat (ok, arena) I'm in.  And each class is only about 15 minutes long so I can make it through it.  

As for packing....nope, I'm not ready.

Here's a picture of the hallway Friday night.  PART of my staging area, and doesn't include all the stuff I brought down to the ranch to travel in the trailer.  Next stop for this stuff... the camper or truck, depending on what I think needs to go to the hotel vs. what can stay in the camper.

I've been trying to decide how much clothing I can leave in the camper in case I want to change during the day or just store in the camper and bring to the hotel when I need it.  But I think I'm over thinking the packing portion.  Packing for a regular horse show is so much easier.  Packing for a week long horse show is something new.  But it's not like I will be in Timbuktu (or wherever my parents are today on their World Cruise) so I can buy something if I need to.

I have checked the weather and it'll be HOT all week in Reno.  Highs of 100 on Wednesday and Thursday and a chance of Thunderstorms on Saturday.  High 90s every other day.

Still not sure what time I'm leaving Sunday.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July Party and Fireworks

Alright, so today I talk about the 4th of July Party and Fireworks.   Really.  :-)

It started out on a shaky note.  On Tuesday (which felt like Friday because we were off the next day) we came home to find the pool opaque.  Not green, but kind of a milky white.  Looking in the spa we couldn't even see the steps.  The Jandy was cruising around the pool but we couldn't see more than a foot under water so I just had to assume that it was down there at the end of the hose!

Oh crap.

Ken called our pool guy and he said he'd shocked the pool and was surprised that it was still murky and said to run the pump for another couple hours and to call him if it was still not clear.  So Ken and I went out to dinner and when we got back it was still opaque.  Another phone call.  We were told to run the pump all night and call him in the morning and if it still wasn't clear he'd come out and would do something (I don't know what) so that it would be clear by noon.  Fast forward to 9am and it was clearer but still not clear.  So Ken called again and Rob came out by 10am and did something (no idea what...I was inside the house getting the food ready for the party) and as we checked the pool up through 1pm, it finally was clear enough that I wasn't too concerned about a mutiny by our guests.  I was hoping it would hang in there.

Because, as if that wasn't bad enough, the house was 80 degrees.  

This is at 10:30am

Our thermostat is set to 78.  This wasn't good.  We've been wondering about the AC for a few weeks/months and even had someone come out a few weeks ago and tell us it's working (it was a cool day the day he came out) but that we needed to clean the outside unit (whatever that thing is called) and he hosed it off and we were good to go. But during the next heat wave (while we were at Clear Lake) we came home to a warm house.  Of course we'd turned the AC off while we were gone, so that was to be expected.  But when it only made it to 80 degrees inside by the time we went to bed I was getting worried.  But overnight it cooled off and since then it has seemed fine.  Though we haven't had hot weather since then.  Until this week.  Though it was 'only' supposed to reach 97 on the 4th.

We set up two fans, one in the living room and one in the kitchen hoping it would keep the house semi-cool while people are in and out all day.

All of this was before 2pm when the party started...  I was tired already.  But looking forward to a day spent in and by the pool.

People started showing up shortly after 2pm and it didn't take long before we were in the pool.  It was great fun (to me - I hope to our guests, also!).  

There was plenty of relaxing

 and water fights 

Then Ken manned the grill, firing up hamburgers and hot dogs - classic 4th of July fare.
After eating, the Cornhole tournament started (let me comment that playing in a tournament with a baseball team isn't for the faint of heart) with oodles of "nothing but net" type shots (straight into the hole without sliding up to it)

though not everyone was interested in the games...

We all waited for the sun to set so everyone could move to the cul-de-sac to watch the fireworks.  And once the sun set the party sparkled.  (sorry - couldn't resist!)

 Nothing beats watching young children play with sparklers.  They're still my favorite, too.

Classic 4th of July with friends and neighbors gathered together to watch 90 minutes of fireworks.

Happy Independence Day America!