I want to publicly thank the Amy's for making sure everything at the farm ran smoothly while we were away. It was like we were never gone, and you just can't complain about that!
Jason and I didn't really do much while we were away. We are both avid readers so we laid on the beach or by the pool and read a lot of books. I love to read and don't have as much reading time as I would like day to day. My beach reading consisted of:
Freedom In Exile: This is the autobiography of the Dalai Lama. Although it was written several years ago it was still interesting to read and to help me understand more about the situation with Tibet and the politics in that part of the world. I also know very little about Buddhism so I learned about that as well. I really enjoyed this book.
Twilight Series: The vampire series by Stephenie Meyer consisting of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I felt like I was one of the only people that hadn't read these books. Although the target audience of the books was originally teenagers they've been best sellers across many age categories and the series is now being made into movies. The first book in the series, Twilight, was a good beach read but I felt each book went progressively downhill. By the fourth book I wasn't interested but I already had the books and I read fast so I kept going and read them all. Did I like the books enough to watch the movies? I'll probably watch the Twilight movie (from the first book) as that one was the best read. It will be a long time before I see it though. Jason and I rarely go to a movie and our TV tends to sit in silence!
Iacocca: This was the autobiography written by Lee Iacocca about his career in the auto industry, first working his way up to the President of Ford Motor Company and then his spectacular turnaround of Chrysler after that. Again this book was written 20 years ago but I enjoy business books a lot (I did own a successful recruiting company at one point!) and had always meant to read this one. I wasn't old enough to have a clue who Lee Iacocca was when he was turning around Chrysler. I think I was maybe five years old? I really enjoyed this book and reading about his perspective on Chrysler being bailed out 20+ years ago. I have been against all of these bailouts in recent months and the out of control spending spree our government is currently on, but Chrysler paid back all of the government money they received under Iacocca, and in fact paid it back seven years early. It will be interesting to see how the banks and auto companies handle the money this time around. The Chrysler bailout under Iacocca was pennies compared to the money being handed out today. The total then was "only" a billion dollars to Chrysler.
Audition: This is the autobiography by Barbara Walters. A great read by someone who has led a fascinating and very interesting life. I really enjoyed this book. I only made it through seven books - that is pretty light duty for me given that I had a week of nothing else to do!
In addition to reading Jason and I ate a lot of fresh seafood, did some swimming, and played paddle ball on the beach. Neither of us are naturally gifted paddle ball players, so if it ever becomes an Olympic sport like beach volleyball the U.S. Olympic Committee won't be looking us up. The longest volley we had was only 34 hits back and forth. Most of our volleys were a LOT shorter than that!
Our big excitement was we went to watch the Blue Angels practice one morning. The Blue Angels are the U.S. Navy's flight demonstration squadron. I have never seen them in person before and even though we were only watching a practice session it was amazing! At times they would fly together in formations so tight they are only 18" apart - while going really fast!! It was fun to watch them fly straight up, fly upside down, do their loops and rolls and all of the other stuff they did. I tried to take some pictures but it was so fascinating to watch that I often forgot to take pictures. The other problem is they were so fast it was hard to get a picture of them even when I remembered to try!
As I watched their practice session I thought about how nerve wracking it would be to have the public watching you practice. I know that I am content having my horses at home and not having the world watching when I take the flier or chip in to a jump! Obviously I try to be at a place where we are much better than that for a horse show, but I wouldn't want to attempt to get there while constantly being watched by a judge as I school at home.
After we watched the Blue Angels practice we went through the Naval Aviation Museum which was interesting. They also had a Blue Angel flight simulator. I happily paid to have a ride in that simulator and it was really fun! Jason wouldn't do it because he thought he might get motion sickness. That was because I had talked him into riding the Ferris Wheel the night before where he did NOT have a good time. Jason and I both have a fear of heights, although we don't find the same situations uncomfortable. I can't lean over the railing at the second story of the mall without feeling queasy. However the Ferris Wheel didn't bother me, nor does flying, even in small planes.
I felt bad that I made Jason ride the Ferris Wheel as he gripped the pole in the center of our basked with all of his might with sweat pouring off of him. I was glad he didn't pass out and that he made it through a half dozen passes on the Ferris Wheel still walking and talking! What really killed him was when they were loading all of the people onto the ride. At one point you are stopped at the very top of the Ferris Wheel, and your basket kind of sways back and forth as you sit up there waiting while they load passengers. I wasn't sure if Jason was still going to be with me for a few minutes as we swayed around up there. He hadn't yet completely recovered from the Ferris Wheel experience the night before so he passed on the Blue Angel flight simulator. "Normal" flying doesn't bother him but thought the simulation of the flips, rolls, and vertical ascents might be too much.
We'll be back to our regularly scheduled program of retired horses after this post. It is nice to be home!
Getting ready to take off
Four of them taking off together
Flying in formation
Flying in formation
One upside down, one right side up
2 upside down and 2 right side up
Tight formation of 4; there are six angels that perform. Most of the time four fly in formation and the other two do solo stunts or opposing passes with each other. They did some maneuvers with all six planes in the formation.