Sunday, September 25, 2011

Get On Your Boots!

Get on your boots and cowboy hat...

It's Dan's first rodeo!

We went to the Poway Rodeo this weekend, and it was so. much. fun. It never occurred to me that anyone had gone their whole lives without seeing a rodeo - much less my husband! So when I heard the rodeo was in town, it became Priority Number One. It was kind of like Dan's shock when he learned I had never been to a circus before we got married (which we rectified at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus a few years ago).

There's something refreshing about watching people who work with horses as a profession. It's easy to forget that not long ago, everyone had horses because they were our primary source of transportation. And now tons of people live their whole lives without ever seeing one except on TV. Dan didn't know what to expect, and he was surprised at how fun it was to watch the rodeo contests. The thing I like about it is that all the skills demonstrated are practical skills for a cowboy or rancher. They're not just showing off "tricks" to entertain the crowd - well, except for bull riding. That's clearly just a pissing contest. :)

They had lots of fun events to watch, and I didn't bother getting pictures of everything since our camera + low lighting + movement = really blurry pictures. A couple of things they had at this rodeo that I hadn't seen before were Mexican riders on dancing horses who performed during a Mariachi song, and a contest for kids (ages 4-6) riding bareback sheep. Most of the kids didn't stay on for more than 2 seconds, and I'm pretty sure they all got stepped on by their sheep after they fell off. But they bounced right back up afterwards, confirming my theory that children are made of rubber.

Here are some of the photos I did take that turned out pretty clearly.

Some rodeo ladies marched in formation to patriotic songs to kick off the show

They got right to the action with bronco riding! Some riders rode bareback and others with saddles. Many of them made it until the buzzer went off, so then it became a contest of points earned from their technique.

They had calf roping & tying, which made Dan feel sorry for the calves. They got jerked & thrown around by the cowboys for a few seconds, but they all bounced up and ran away afterwards like nothing had happened. (children = rubber)

And some of them were quick enough to get away from the lasso. (Be free, baby cow!!)

They had ladies' barrel racing, where they raced to a barrel and made a tight turn around it before racing to the next barrel. I remember watching my cousin Tricia compete in this event as a teenager.

And of course - bull riding! I was happy to see that they make the riders wear helmets & chest protection now. It was cool to watch the "clowns" in action, too. As soon as the rider got thrown, they were in the bull's face, distracting him from trying to trample or gore the rider. Hardly any of the riders made it till the buzzer went off, so the ones who did were pretty much guaranteed to win money.

Dan looking a little nervous during the bull riding

One of the victorious bulls. They probably have their own contest going in the bullpen to see who can throw their rider the fastest. Or the farthest. :)

Although Dan didn't turn into a cowboy overnight, he said the rodeo was a lot more fun than he expected! If you haven't been to a rodeo before, you should go! It's well worth it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Great Southern CA Blackout of 2011

You may have heard about it last week, but western Arizona and southern California experienced a massive blackout last Thursday (9/8) when a high power line was knocked out. It was a huge mess! All of San Diego's power went out at around 3:40 that day, and once people realized the extent of the outage, companies started sending their employees home. The problem was that all the traffic lights were out, no one could pump gas, phone lines were out of service, and the cell phone towers were too busy to get a call to go through. Plus, the first game of the NFL season was that night and It was straight from a horror movie, people!

I had to wait at work for an extra hour until traffic died down a little (my car overheats in stop-and-go traffic), but I was so thankful that Dan & I already had enough gas to get home from work! It took us each about an hour to drive home and we saw plenty of people in accidents or stranded without gas on the way. The police & firefighters were of course overwhelmed, so they said to resolve any accidents among yourselves unless there were injuries. They warned us to not expect power for 24-48 hours since the outage was so extensive. All the public schools announced closures the next day, and so did Dan's school. I'm sure many people had a very rough night, but I know God was watching over our city since I didn't hear of any related deaths or too many issues with vandalism or violence that night.

When we got home, our house was really hot, so we opened our windows and went for a bike ride to see how people were faring. Everyone was outside & enjoying the last light we'd see for the day. It was so crowded it looked like a holiday weekend on the beach.

Once it got dark, almost the only lights you saw were headlights from cars. This intersection is the busiest in our neighborhood & is usually all lit up at night. You can just make out the reflective vest of the traffic guard in the middle of the intersection.

I know you can hardly see it, but this bar was completely full of people sitting in the pitch dark, drinking beer. Maybe the beer was half price since their refrigerator wasn't working, but we didn't stop to check.

Then we saw the Beacon Of Light. The Vons grocery store had an emergency generator & still had lights on! We rode over there to check it out and this is what we saw. A line of people wrapped around the front of the building waiting to get in to buy supplies & food at the only functioning store in the area.

They had Vons bouncers at the door who were only letting in a few customers at a time, because let's face it, I can easily see a fight breaking out over the last flashlight & pack of batteries.

We made it home safely and decided in retrospect that it wasn't our best idea ever to go biking in the dark of night when the rules of the road are suspended and everyone is feeling panicky. We broke out all our decorative candles, pulled out our flashlights and camping lanterns, turned on the battery operated radio, and enjoyed a (slightly) quieter night than usual. Although it was hot in our bedroom and I hate to sweat while I sleep.

I woke up at 1:30 a.m. to go to the bathroom, and as I was walking back to bed, I saw Dan's alarm clock flashing! My first thought was "YESSS! The power's on! I can turn on the A/C!!" and my second thought was "Aw man, I'm going to have to go to work tomorrow." :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

There's been plenty going on this past month, but I've been forgetting to carrying my camera around recently. The camera came back out for my mom's family reunion during Labor Day weekend, though. We flew to TX and spent most of the weekend at the Ranch House, where we've established fun annual traditions like playing an evening game of whiffleball. Playing during the day was not an option since TX has been beating records with two months of over 100-degree weather. They had a "cool spell" while we were there, where the high was around 98, I think. *gack*

The family playing whiffleball in the Ranch House backyard

Aunt Margaret is fully ready to get Addi out, nevermind that she's 6 years old. Addi was definitely most improved player of the year, getting to base every time she batted!

Jackson getting some coaching from Uncle Brian.

Kolby taking off Flash-Gordon-style.

Baby Tucker isn't sure what he thinks of whiffleball quite yet. He will reserve his final opinion until next year.

We played until you couldn't see the ball anymore. The sky was looking pretty as we went inside.

The friendly competition continued with "Catch Phrase" once we got indoors. The hardest part about the game is that when you get the disk, you have to make yourself heard over everyone else who's still laughing, making fun of the last person who went, asking whose turn it is because they can't hear, etc. If you pretend you're making an announcement to 100 kindergarteners in a gymnasium, you'll be fine.

And finally a late night game of One-Bounce. Everyone is demonstrating their best swing.

The next day, we started early on the "big meal" of the weekend. Tricia and Remy made delicious hand-made flour tortillas!

Mom working on fajita toppings

Emily and Addi made the

Cookies in their finest form. I *may* have OD'ed on cookie dough that day.

While the kitchen elves slaved away, others caught bugs

And chatted (wait, wasn't she just in the kitchen?)

And cuddled. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

It was a great meal! I'm pretty sure I see "food coma" in Dan & Paul's eyes.

Some extended family joined us for the afternoon and evening, and we even got them involved in whiffleball that night.

Dan & I flew home on Monday evening, and after work on Tuesday we headed to the Padres vs. Giants game. Sorry the picture is so dark, but Dan couldn't keep from blinking with the flash turned on.

I won these tickets at work, and they were great seats right behind 3rd base! We loved sitting so close to the action and getting to see the little details you miss when you're in the nosebleed section. Like this guy's batting stance. Cracked me up every time he came up to bat! The Padres stayed with the Giants through about the 6th inning, then it was pretty clear that the Giants were going to win. We left during the 8th inning since it was getting late on a school night and we just can't hang like we used to.