Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Square Dancing through the Summer, 2015

     I can't believe we're half way through our time in Show Low.  It's true:  "Life is like a roll of toilet paper.  The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!"   I don't know how many of you know we used to square dance.  I'm talking about 32+ years ago.  We were in Evanston, WY & Robert & Riki learned too.  We wound up dancing in Fort Bridger & Lyman, & then our group was without a caller.  I've always thought it would be fun to square dance again & this year we had a chance to start mainstream lessons from the beginning.  The lessons are twice a week, run Jun-Aug, and are held in Linden, about 6.5 miles from our home in Show Low.  When we danced before, we were usually in schools with cement floors.  Our club here has its own building with a great wood floor, called the White Mountain Square Dance Club.  It's much easier on the legs.  They also hold community dances there, with country bands.  We've attended several of those in the past.
     Last month they had their Spring Festival and had their "Second Hand Rose" store open.  I was able to find skirts, blouses, and petticoats for $5 apiece.   Interesting that except for one black/white skirt, the rest are all red and/or white.  While we were in Wyoming last month, Riki, Gary, & I dug through their storage shed looking for an old plastic tub with my old square dance clothes.  Found, it contained 3 dresses, 1 blouse, 2 petticoats, & 2 pettie pants, all red and/or white.  Guess red's my color!
     Gary continues to enjoy his pool tournaments.  He's won a couple & had several 2nds.  That's enough to keep him going when he doesn't place that high.  While in Wyoming, he enjoyed playing with his old buddies at the senior center most mornings.
     We left here on June 17, and drove to Orem, UT.  We spent the night there, along with Riki & her husband, Kevin.  The next morning was the  Utah National  Fallen Firefighter Foundation Golf Tournament.  I enjoy helping with the registration, while Gary, Riki, & Kevin played on the Evanston team, along with Rusty.  They did something new this year and recognized a Fallen Firefighter on each hole.  The two other family survivors and I each went out to the hole where our loved one was pictured.  We had a chance to talk to most of the teams as they played that hole and share our firefighter's story.  Hopefully the firefighters enjoyed it as much as we did.  It was great meeting them on a more personal level.  Here's a picture of me with Robert's sign.

There was another hole where the golfers all put on turnout gear for their tee shot. Here's Gary.

     After the tournament, we drove up to Evanston, WY, where we stayed at Riki's.  We had a great week there.  I had a chance to get together with my quilting friends and a couple of very special retired nurses, that I used to work with and remain great friends.

We also saw some of Gary's family in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Here's Gary with his two sisters.

     Friday, Riki, Kevin, and I flew to Baltimore, MD, for the 10th Annual Survivor's Conference.  We were met at the airport by the Tobia's, friends and representatives of the NFFF.  They drove us to our hotel, in Annapolis.  We flew in a two days early to see some of the area.  Riki had made reservations for sailing on a wind schooner out on Chesapeake Bay.  While we had enough wind to make it really exciting, we also had clouds and some rain.  Towards the end of our two hour sail, our Captain made a run for the dock as a squall was fast approaching.  We almost made it, as the heavens opened up and it poured.  None of us melted and despite the weather we had a fun experience.

     We also did some shopping and of course enjoyed the food.  Sunday we were able to get into Chick and Ruth's a local eating establishment that gets rave reviews.  I loved their crab cakes, made from lump crab meat and then they had fresh pies.  Rhubarb was on the menus, so of course I had to have a piece.  Yummy!!!
     This year's conference was a chance to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.  We all belong to the greatest organization that no one wants to join.  We started with a get-together Sunday night.  During the next three days there were numerous workshops we had signed up to attend.  I presented laughter yoga again & had another super turnout.  I also helped Riki & Kevin with a Geocaching Workshop.  We hid 3 temporary caches around the hotel & were able to provide some hands on experience.   At the end, we helped a couple people sign up for their accounts.  It's such a fun experience for kids, we knew it would be well received.
    In the evenings, special activities were held.  Monday night was a crab feast at a local restaurant.  I couldn't begin to guess how many crab we went through.  I know I ate about 7 myself.  These were blue crabs and there is a LOT of work for a LITTLE meat, but what you get is really good.  I would guess I had between 3/4 and a cup of crab meat out of  my  crabs.
 Just one of many, many, many platters of Maryland Blue Crabs.
Tools of the trade to get that meat out of the crab.
     On Tuesday we were bused to Camden Yard in Baltimore for a home gave where the Orioles played the Texas Rangers.  Unfortunately the Orioles lost, but there were around 6 home runs between the two teams so it was exciting.   Here I am getting a hug from their mascot.  That's a BIG bird!

     Wednesday evening was the closing of the conference.  We all went on a dinner cruise on Chesapeake Bay.  Dinner was salmon and rare roast beef with multiple sides and desserts.  After dinner Black-eyed Susans (MD state flower), were passed out.  Brian played his beautiful bagpipes while we honored our loved ones and tossed the flowers over the side.  Needless to say there were a lot of tears, but many, many hugs and special bonds made also.  This is always a very moving part of the Conference and is so special, as we have all been through the greatest loss any of us could imagine.  Sharing this together is an incredible experience that is hard to describe.
     Thursday was an optional day with several choices of activities.  Riki and Kevin went with a group to take the Metro into Washington DC.  I chose to go with a group to Baltimore's Inner Harbor and tour the National Aquarium.  It was fantastic.  As a teenager, I was stung several times by jelly fish when board and body surfing in Southern Calif, and have been fascinated by them ever since.  I spent over an hour in just that exhibit.  They are absolutely beautiful, as you can see.

    The only downer on our trip was my catching a head cold the tirst week we were gone.  Gary then caught it and was sick when we returned.  We stayed in Evanston for the fireworks on July 4th and then headed back to Arizona.  Gary was still pretty sick, so I drove most of the way.  Let's hope we don't have to do that again.  Our friend Diane LeB. had kindly kept Bandit for us, while we were gone, so both Bandit and Gary were VERY glad to see each other, and yes, I missed the little guy too.
    Our good friend, Kathy Reardon, from Jojoba Hills also spent the summer at Country Lane,  our Show Low Park.  When she arrived, she surprised us with a quilted wall hanging made by a quilter at Jojoba.  Its beautiful and I'm sure you'd agree very appropriate.
       I love it!  It reminds me so much of Quartzsite with the various RV's, cactus, and hills in the background.  She even got a dog in there. 
       I continue to learn Mah Jongg this summer.  The Chinese is becoming easier, so I tried the American version.  My oh my, was that an experience.  I'm not sure American is in my future, but I'll  continue to try it.  My motto is try something at least three times before I give it up.
      We've decided to become Arizona residents and give up our mail service.  Of course, that meant changing our address on everything.  We'll get Arizona drivers' licenses next month.  Our permanent address is:  1051 N. Central Ave. Space 272, Show Low, AZ 85901.  We'll do a temporary forward for about 6 months, when we go to Casa Grande for the Fall and then cancel it when we return to the Mountain in the Spring.  Phone numbers all remain the same.
       We're back in our routine, with me doing water aerobics at the aquatic center five mornings a week and Gary playing pool tournaments when they come up, and both of us square dancing three times a week.  Another fun summer.   If any of you are in the White Mountains of Arizona, make sure and look us up.  We'd love to see you.
      Square dancing through Summer 2015 in Show Low,
      Katy, Gary, and Bandit