Monday, August 30, 2010

Gateway Feis 2010

Once again, the Gateway Feis Committee and Renaissance Hotel did a lot of things right.

The stages for the grades were laid out in a logical order. Plenty of room for people to move around. An extra ballroom was rented for vendors and also for a practice stage -- it also had extra seating for people. Parking validation was offered to defray the pay-for-parking around the hotel (although it turned out to be a moot point since the exit gate was put in the "up" position by the time we left).

And, as a bonus, they whipped through the competitions like nobody's business. When we stopped by Friday night to pick up our competition numbers we overheard someone say something to the effect that a wedding was taking place at the hotel on Saturday, so they'd need to zip the feis along to get everyone out of there so the hotel could set up for the next event.

Also, some kids from another school thought Annabeth had a nice poof:

By lunch time most of the hornpipes were done. After the break the kids finished up hornpipe, then did their Traditional Sets. We were packed up, checked out results (all of our results had been posted quickly all day long) and were out of there in time to enjoy the rest of the day. Woot.

We decided the theme for the feis was from Wicked:

One short feis at the Renaissance Hotel,
One short feis to move your dances up!

Too bad we didn't move any dances up. Our family seemed to be under some sort of dreamlike spell, much akin to Dorothy wandering around Oz -- "This is a feis? We do Irish Dance? Really?" -- so we came home with a couple of ribbons a each rather than medals. Such is life when you start to focus on other things.

Overall, a thumbs up for this feis. We recommend it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Backyard Camping

Most nights lately have had an overnight low of a balmy 78F with high humidity -- the sort that features dripping windows when you get up in the morning.

But the overnight low last night was 58F, so it was time to pitch a tent in the backyard.

No clue if they actually got any sleep ... oh, here they they come now ....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Work in Progress Wednesday

Cranking out the cotton dishcloths for the co-op class ... so far we have Illusion knitting:

monogram out of knits and purls:

and just started some lace today:

Also starting school work in earnest, continuing negotiations regarding theater and dance classes (that is, how many should sane people take), and enjoying the normal (not sweltering) weather. And lots of time spent laughing about nothing in particular.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Random Stuff

Hey, long time no blog. I was going to post yesterday with a Work-in-Progress Wednesday, but our internet service went kaput. (OMG! HOW CAN WE GET IN TOUCH WITH FRIENDS ABOUT SATURDAY NIGHT? Because we're apparently incapable of picking up a phone and calling, or functioning AT ALL without internet. Sheesh.)

Many local schools started this week. While the kids were loading onto the bus, we were making pancakes:

Really, that's a lie. The school kids were on the bus before the household kids were even awake. So the pancakes were made mid-morning.

We've been getting back into the swing of school, particularly math, for a couple of weeks now. We're at the fun point in RightStart E -- things like isometric drawings:

I'll be teaching a co-op class in knitting and crocheting this year. I'm making some sample dishcloths for the class. This one is a simple design of a lighthouse, chosen because it's Lighthouse Co-op:

I've also been messing around with sewing a skirt for a solo dress, using cheap drapery fabric and Peltex. You know what? I hate working with Peltex. I love bodices. I love the fabric we found for the skirt (a silk-metallic blend that has the same irregularly pleated texture as the cheap drapery fabric). But I hate the heavy stiffening. Working with it felt like a prison sentence. So I ended up emailing a woman in Australia about a used dress for sale.

Not sure what the final outcome of the Australian emails will be, or if I'll go back to wrestling the Peltex. Thalia doesn't seem to care one way or another, and is content to compete in her school dress. She has developed new interests this summer, it seems (yes, I know some of you are dying from laughter at what a massive understatement that is -- I can hear you all the way over here at our house). So Irish Dance is no longer the BIg Deal is was before.

More later ... posting quickly before the internet goes out again ....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Holiday World

Yes, we are still alive and well. We've just been busy. Most recently we spent the weekend at Holiday World, which was loads of fun, although sometimes it reminded me of some sort of Twilight Zone episode (I think I read too many creepy SciFi short stories when I was young -- seeing the lines of people constantly filing into the Pepsi Oases was just sort of unnerving, like they were getting their hit of Soylent Green or something).

We spent most of our time in the Splashin' Safari waterpark, riding rides, jumping waves in the wave pool (which is a salt water pool, and the absolute perfect temperature) and generally hanging out in whatever shade we could find. Oh, and also noting the vast number of bizarre tattoos, which sort of became a game to see who could spot the weirdest, most disturbing (in all fairness I should mention that Rick also spotted the most attractive one he's ever seen -- it helped that the person it was on was in excellent shape and had extremely healthy skin tone under the tat).

After the water park closed we headed to the other rides, such as the Raging Rapids (the 2nd night the kids did it on their own and I managed to get a snapshot). The sign that says "You Will Get Wet" is true, by the way.

Also, the swings, during which most people seemed to develop zombie eyes according to these photos (aaaagh -- it's the Soylent Green they've been eating, I tell you!)

Also, the Raven -- no picture because I rode it and they take away all loose stuff so it doesn't go flying into the wild blue yonder or maybe the lake (it goes over water in the first curve) -- although the kids tried to go back for a 3rd ride which I planned to sit out for the sake of a photo, but the line had closed. But it's a blast, believe me.

I also loved the Wildebeest, but wasn't sure it was worth waiting in line over an hour. I thought they should put me in charge of deciding who gets to ride (I could channel my inner Sue Sylvester for the task), which would really cut down on the length of the line.

What they say on their website is true -- the place is amazingly clean. And the employees are all clean cut and polite. Well, except for the lifeguards who were arguing at the top of one of the rides -- the girl turned to Thalia and Annabeth and matter-of-factly stated, "If you meet a guy named Ben, don't listen to what he says -- he's really stupid." (I wanted Thalia to ask various male lifeguards on other rides if their name was Ben, but she kept refusing -- go figure.)

Definitely worth the trip, and we plan to go back.