Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dragon Boat Festival 2012

This year's dragon boat festival was last weekend and it was a blast, as usual.

Australia had a team this year.  Their tent was one over from ours.  I loved their accents.  They kept calling each other "mate", which was a hoot.

They had this little guy hanging off of their tent. SO cute. I wanted to take him home.

The team gathering up to warm up

Getting in postion to que up for the race

I really wanted to try this stretch but it was kind of vetoed by the rest of the team..lol.

Paddles and vest for loan. They really accomodate people who want to try paddling and participate in the races.  No need to buy your own equipment, just show up.

Go Blazing Paddles!

They have some fun entertainment acts. I don't get to watch too many of them because of our race schedules. I happened to catch this one on my way back from a race.

Every year some of the teams try to out do each other with the hats that the callers/and or steersman wear during the races.  I think this was a good one. There was a team of engineers that had a ruler and a protractor on their hat, which was pretty funny too but I didn't get a picture because I was in the boat at when I saw it.

We did pretty well in one race, placing 5th among 8 boats.  We got one of our best times ever, so that was cool.

Future paddlers


Team Panda was there again, of course.  They have two teams. One is named "Orange Chicken" and the other is "Broccoli Beef".  Hilarious.

Joe injured his knee doing jumping jacks.  Here he is  fashionably rocking his ice pack. It didn't stop him from paddling in four races.  There's no "I" in Team!   :)

Chilling in the tent

I paddled in five races this year.  It's a bit more than I have paddled in over the last two years and I am a bit sore.
I was not scheduled to race in the last race on Sunday, but a player had to drop out suddenly so they put me back in. I was fine with that. I just do whatever they need me to do and I don't complain.  I think that's why they like Joe and me so much, because they know we are dependable and we just go with the flow. No drama, no complaints.

I have been a member of this team for six years.  Being on this team has helped me through a lot of hard times.  Even though we aren't adopting from China anymore, I have been assured that we will always have a place on this team.

A small group of us are talking about meeting year round to paddle, maybe once or twice a month.  Mostly just those who have older girls who can paddle. We hope to throw some ideas around and hammer out the details because I would love to continue to practice throughout the year, even if just for an extra couple of months when the weather is nice.

Another successful dragon boat season has come to an end.  Once again I loved every minute of it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Lovin'

Been lots going, but too tired to blog.

This seagull was chilling on the railing at the beach yesterday. He sat there forever while we took his picture, almost like he was posing for us.   Funny little dude.

We have been keeping ourselves pretty busy this summer.

I am still doing weight watchers, and I am still(slowly and steadily) losing weight.

I have lost 35.5 pounds to date.  I am thrilled with that amount, but I have a ways to go.  I try not to think about how far I have to go and be happy with what I have lost.  I don't always succeed. But 35 pounds!  I have no clothes that fit me now.  

Work is going great.  It's our busy time and boy are we busy!  We have five telephone lines and they ring off the hook.  It's crazy really.  Keeps us on our toes.

We have a mexican restaurant across the street from us and occasionally we will go over there after work and have a margarita(or two).  Some days we really need them.

We went out a couple of weeks ago to say goodbye to my co-worker who is moving away.  I am sad that she is leaving but excited for her new journey.  There are quite a few girls missing from this pic. (T and I  didn't get the memo on the sunglasses....lol)

Me with Kelli, the girl who is leaving.  We will miss her!  She is having a baby and we are all bummed she won't be here for us to spoil after she has him/her.

Love, love, love the girls I work with!

Today was our last dragon boat practice. Next week are the races. I am excited about the races, but sad that it is coming to an end.  I love it so much.  I love everything about it. I even love the exercises we do in the beginning, although I seem to be the only one who does.  Maybe because I have been exercising on a regular basis at home.  I feel so much more warmed up and ready to go after our 20 minute warm up sessions.

Last week they let me be the caller and it was the coolest thing ever!  The caller is the one sitting on the bow of the boat, facing the team.  At first it's a little scary because you are balancing precariously up there but once I got over that it was awesome.  So exhilarating. One of the reasons they chose me to call was because the caller rarely gets to paddle(because they are calling), and Debbie really wanted some paddling time.  I couldn't paddle because of my thumb, so I was the perfect candidate. The other reason was because, well, because I am so loud and they needed someone who could speak loud enough for everyone on the boat to hear.  I fit that bill perfectly.  As we were getting off the boat I overheard someone saying to Joe "Michelle did really well.  I could hear her all the way in the back of the boat".  Joe responded "Yeah.  She can be loud.  That's her playground voice".  LOL!  He's right.  You don't work in a daycare center for 14 years and not learn how to project your voice.

We have been on this team for six years now and have come to really like the people we paddle with.

Oh, I forgot to mention something else that happened over Fourth of July.

Here I am rocking my latest fashion accessory.  Yes, that's a thumb splint.  I knocked my hand into a table(HARD)  the day before the 4th and I have been rocking the splint ever since.  The urgent care doc said it wasn't broken(although they didn't x-ray it).  It's just a bad sprain, but oh my word does it hurt!  I have only just started going without the splint for a few hours per day when I am not active.   I swore to my co-workers that if I had to wear it one more day I was going to bling it up, so last Thursday that's what I did.

Here it is :

Isn't it bee-yoo-tee-ful?  Or gaudy.  You choose.  I already know which one Joe chooses.  :)

Yesterday my friend Carla let me hang with her at the stables.  I didn't get to ride because the horse she has there right now is a baby, but I got to groom and watch while she worked him in the round pen, and just soak up the horsey goodness.  I spent so many years of my life at the stables that it feels like coming home.  That's where Carla and I met, and spent most of our childhoods together.  We were trying to figure out how long we have been friends and realized it has been 28 years!  Wow, that must mean we are getting really old!!

This is Carla's colt Cowboy.  Love him!

This is Carla's daughter's yellow lab Sage. He's such a love.

Afterwards we rode bikes down to the beach and had lunch at Ruby's and walked around.  Only in Southern CA can you be taking care of your horses and then 20 minutes later be hanging out at the beach.  Love where I live.

The weather was beautiful and the beach was packed.

There were a ton of wind surfers out there.  There was supposed to be one in the picture but I didn't realize how far away it looked on my phone until I uploaded it.  It's that tiny little thing over my right shoulder.

That's how my summer has been going.  How about you!

20 days until we are here!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fourth of July

We had a laid back Fourth of July.  I had a couple of invitations to go to BBQ's but we decided to stay in and then go watch the fireworks show in the park next to us.  They always put on a good show and we can walk there.

The sun didn't make an appearance until almost four o'clock but that didn't stop me from having a craving for something cold and refreshing.  Margaritas were the drink of choice and off I went  to the store to pick up a few ingredients.

I was going to make a traditional margarita but then I saw on Pinterest this grapefruit margarita and it looked so yummy we decided to try those instead.

I had most of the ingredients on hand, except for the grapefruit juice.

I pinned the recipe here:  Grapefruit Margarita

The recipe actually calls for Triple Sec, but we had Grand Marnier on hand and it was delicious with it.  But if you wanted to follow the recipe exactly, it uses Triple Sec.

Please don't mention the huge bottle of Petron tequila that we own.  It was bought for me by Joe as kind of a joke after our staff Christmas party last year(don't ask).  I have no idea how more than half of it got drank in the last 7 months.  No idea!(ahem)

Anyway, it was called for in this recipe, and luckily we had some.    :)

They were so good!

When it started getting dark we walked over the freeway overpass to the park.  The fireworks show they put on at the high school next to us is rated as one of the top ten in Orange County.  People come from all over town to see them.  They even fill up the parking lot of our apartment complex since we live so close.   It's illegal and annoying as heck, but they still do it.

Waiting for the fireworks to start

I can never get good pictures of fireworks, so no pictures of those.  

Chilling after the fireworks waiting for the crowd to thin out before walking home.

It was a nice, laid back day.  At least next year we will get two days off.  It sucks when it falls right in the middle of the week like that.

Two weeks until Dragon Boat Races(already!), and then four more weeks until I am sitting here with a cold beer in my hand:

Can.  Not.  Wait.