Out of Town for the Weekend

I am out of town for the weekend in beautiful Ludington, Michigan and probably won’t be able to update until next week.  I’ll be trying to fit in time at the beach with the pile of manga that I brought, but so far, sitting around and enjoying the breeze time has been sadly lacking.  The sand dunes ride was awesome, though!

Counting Down to ACen!

On Thursday, the staff here at Manga Maniac Cafe will be packing up my Jeep and heading to Anime Central.  Staff is probably too strong a word – Kim, my niece, jumped at the chance to attend a convention.  Her price for admission and accommodations?  Weekend servitude and lugging stuff around for Auntie!  She’ll be helping me chase down cos-players, to snap pics of all of their costumed glory.

I’ve got my check list out so hopefully I won’t forget anything major (like the camera!), but it seems that every time I go out of town, I forget something important and have to try to replace it. One time it was the power cord to my laptop; talk about being bummed out.

Check back starting Friday for our con adventures.  If we don’t have the cutting edge on scoops, at least we should have some awesome pictures to share.

Four Days of Freedom!

Oh, the joys of Christmas! I have four days off from work!  After stuffing myself with catered Indian fare and a variety of terribly fattening desserts, I gathered up my belongings and just…left!  Early!  What a great way to start celebrating the holidays!

During the next four days, I plan on catching up on some reading, going horseback riding, working off some of the calories I consumed at the office party with some DDR, and blogging.  I have my Christmas shopping completed for the first time in about 8 years, and won’t have to resort to tacky handwritten gift certificates or a mad dash to the mall with the other last minute shoppers.  Yea!

We have one family obligation to fulfill on Sunday.  My parents are having Christmas Eve at their place, so Sunday afternoon is the only time we have to be somewhere.  We haven’t been able to just stay home and relax on Christmas day in years, so I’m looking forward to it.  No dashing from one relative’s to the next, just some quiet time at home.

The Vacation’s Over – Sob!

So sad! My leisurely days of strolling around the Magical Kingdom, gobbling down Mickey bars and sampling the fare of Epcot, have come to an end.  Now I’m trying to re-adjust to getting up at 4:30 am and slaving through 12 hour work days.  In about 2 weeks, the entire vacation will seem like a dream, except for the nightmarish credit card bill that will linger far longer than my memories of Disney.  I hate the end of vacations.

I was happy to see some packages from TRSI waiting patiently for my return, which included the first Bleach DVD and most of the volumes of Nodame Cantabile – except the first one, of course!  Hopefully they restock soon…

Back from the World Championship Horse Show – 2006


He’s the Man heading over to collect his ribbons

I’m back from the horse show.  Since my laptop was locked in my parents’ car most of the time, and I was getting back from the show late, the only time I had to blog was first thing in the morning.  The show started at 9, and since I had to grab a shuttle over to Freedom Hall, that didn’t leave me much time to post!

I was able to meet the people that I purchased Blondie from.  I was hoping to see one of their yearlings, Bingo Night, but they sent her home on Thursday.  SOB!!  There was a picture of her in one of the show publications that was released every morning, so I at least have her picture.  Ann said she would send a picture and a video, and I hope she remembers.

 He’s the Man’s victory pass

The highlight of the Friday night classes was the Amateur Roadster to Bike Championship.  What an exciting class!  The judges called for two workouts, where they ask part of the class to show again, because they couldn’t decide on a winner.  I love the roadster classes to begin with, and to see horses of this quality compete was really fun!  Incidentally, William Shatner was driving one of the horses, and he came in second, for all of you Star Trek freaks out there. 

Saturday night, decked out in a dress and my tennis shoes (my dress shoes were in my camera bag, but I had developed a blister from all of the walking, and couldn’t wear them!), I watched He’s the Man take first place in the Five Gaited World’s Grand Championship.  There was no workout, which was disappointing, and though the winner looked good, I think Five O’Clock looked better.  He’s the Man had a few issues, and wasn’t what I would  consider the "perfect" horse.  He broke the first way of the ring, and I don’t think he deserved the championship.  He is a beautiful horse, though.  I think I liked his conformation the best.  I think Echo of Thunder was second, and Five O’Clock was third, but I was so tired from being out late and getting up early that I might have them reversed.  EDIT:  I do have them reversed.  Five O’Clock was second, and Echo of Thunder was third. 

I was able to see Along Came A Spider again, but she came in second!  I love this horse! I think she should have won.  I found that I often didn’t agree with the judges, but I’m sure that is mostly because I’m new to whole thing and don’t really understand what they are judging yet.  One thing that really bugged me, though, was the number of last year’s (and the year before, and before that, even!) that won again this year.  This sport reminds me of figure skating – there’s a lot of politics going on in the background.

I wasn’t able to enjoy food this trip.  I found myself stuck at the fairgrounds most of the time, which meant eating fair food.  Yuck! I am now thoroughly sick of corn dogs.  There is a restaurant in Freedom Hall, and I had  an expensive buffet lunch there, which I really enjoyed, but I didn’t discover it’s exsistance until the end of the week.  It was nice to sit in the air conditioning, and have people run over to fill my coffee cup every time it dipped below the halfway mark.  Next year I will probably eat there a couple days if I go again.

On Saturday, I went shopping at the Executive Inn with the barn people.  Since I had already been through the shops, there wasn’t anything new to look at.  I did purchase a dufflebag with a saddlebred embroidered on the front, and the day before I purchased a garment bag, some jods, and 2 lapel pins.  Most of the vendors were high-priced, exclusive shops, and their wares were a tad too rich for my humble means.

I only covered the most important stuff, so I don’t bore anyone.  If you want more details, I’ll fill you in  later!

Feista Mexicana

Our first day here, we happened to find a new Mexican restaurant that had opened a couple of weeks ago.  Not being familiar with the area, we didn’t really know where else to go.  There don’t seem to be a lot of dining establishments by the hotel, and I want to eat at a chain.

The menu was rather extensive, and it took a bit to decide what to try.  Only two dishes were marked spicy, and both had shrimp.  I ended up going with Shrimp Diabla, because it sounded promising.  The waitress gasped and said, "That’s really spicy."  I just smiled at her and assured her I could handle it.

Mom ordered some chicken dish, and Dad ordered poblana peppers with beef.  We all thought it was stuffed, based on the menu description.  It wasn’t.  It was stewed in a pepper sauce.

The shrimp dish was very good, though not very spicy.  There was no choice between flour or corn tortillas, so I was stuck with flour.  I much prefer corn; they add a little more flavor to the dish.

The service was very good, and the waitress was patient with our questions.  Our orders were brought to the table correctly, and she checked on us frequently throughout the meal. 

I enjoyed the meal at Mexicana Fiesta.  The food was good, though Dad complained that his beef was tough.  The prices were reasonable, and the salsa that was served with the chips before the meal had a nice flavor.