Wednesday, March 18, 2009


So, I've sort of started semi-promoting SONYASHPERE on Facebook...and therefore thinking perhaps I need to return to the basic idea of it and stop posting photos of adorable baby animals just in case people (other than Wanda) actually start reading it!!!

What is the basic idea of this blog?
Well, at first, it was to post the day-to-day activities of CSA's European Summer Study Program so that the participant's friends & family back home in the good ole' USA could see what we were up to, where we were, check out adventures along with us, and feel like there were there with us. I did fairly well with it, although I have to admit that towards the end of the summer I just posted photos and stopped writing details...I just didn't have enough time in the day to keep the blog going full scale (and besides, I was in Europe, free time was better spent out and about, not in some smoke filled Internet cafe!). Later, when the group returned to the States, I wanted to keep my readers informed about myself, my life and my work going-ons...but again, it's not easy keeping a blog every day. I found that my main problem is knowing what to write about, and my second problem is finding the time to write! So, I have decided to keep it simple, without going the Twitter route...I mean I just don't think there is an audience out there needing and anxiously waiting to know my activities on an hourly up-to-date basis...and if there is, well, in the famous words of the dear and darling (not!) Sarah Palin, "Thanks, but no thanks." So, it's decided, I'm going to write about and/or post photos of things that are happening or have happened to me that YOU, my readers, may find interesting because I do or did! Don't like it? Find another blog...there are thousands upon thousands out there!

So, on my mind right now...well, over the weekend I went to my best friend, Sherri's daughter Kaitlynn's ice skating competition. Katilynn got interested in taking skating lessons after Sherri took Kaitlynn and her younger brother, Shane, to a skating rink a year or so ago, for an afternoon of fun. Kaitlynn took to it and asked if she could take lessons. She just loves it...and she is quite good. Now, as for the whole ice skating competition set up? It was of course new to me...I've never been to a skating competition, my exposure to skating overall was limited to watching the winter Olympics on television, shoveling off and skating on ice covered ponds in the Pocono Mountains as a child (a great family event with wonderful memories....all four of us Lenz girls had our very own pairs of beautiful, bright, white skates and I thought I was a Princess when I wore them!) and the occasional pay-to-skate-type rink excursion...last one I went to was maybe 10 years ago when all my nieces and nephews were young children and we went to the Oglebay resort in West Virginia for a family gathering (it was great fun then too...oh what a time we had!!!).
So, the entire set up for this competition was impressive, it was held in the Robert Morris College's Clearview Arena in Moon Township skating facility (along the Ohio River), the building that we we were in has two rinks in it and both had students competing on them at all times. The lobby area, of course, has a massive food concession stand...a racket that any youth sporting event is bound to have, and why not? People are there for hours...and everyone knows that good Pittsburghers are always going to need to be near nacho chips covered with fluorescent orange cheese-goop in order to make it through the day! Vending machines were also well at hand, M&M's, Skittles and Snickers were quite plentiful. Of course the skating related concessions were set up too....who knew there were so many things to buy? I had an idea because Monique's kids and my nephews and niece are involved in I am well aware that things like uniforms, the 'cool' shoes, the knee pads, the 'this' and the 'that' will all need to be purchased in order to be a player (and the players will of course all be selling crappy, cheaply made junk items to raise funds...things that I will of course buy and pile up in my basement for future use or more likely future donation-give-a-ways!) But I had no idea of the range of skate related concessions....from designer skate carry bags with wheels - not just any wheels, but wheels that light up when in motion...upgradable to a designer skate carry bags with lighted wheels and a built in seat (probably because the metal benches in skating rinks get really, really COLD)....from not just $350+ skating costumes and the variety of tights (over the skate, under the skate, in the skate) that go with them but to the many types of hair ornaments, hair pieces, hair attachments, hair bows, hair combs, and ribbons!!! It was fascinating!

It's a world of skating.....a world I don't know and a world Sherri (and her pocketbook, I'm sure) are getting to know very well. How can she not, Kaitlynn is adorable and her only daughter. Kaitlynn's Grandparents and Aunt were there too...I am sure they can't resist buying h
er anything she may want or need! The program guide was too involved to even glance through, Sherri tried to explain the various levels, their meanings and descriptions....I ended up just watching the show - that was good for me! The little ones did routines in outfits with props (made by their mothers), we watched one dressed up as a chimney sweep skating to the song "Chim Chim Cheree" (by Dick Van Dyke) from Mary Poppins (yes, I sang along!) creative and adorable! The older more advanced routines must be skated to songs with no lyrics, there are evidently quite a few major rules, which makes sense. There was even one level of students that skated to NO MUSIC, it was sort of strange to watch, but again made sense, they were evaluated on their skills and techniques, not on how they kept to the music.

I really enjoyed being there and learned so much and so did Nicole (my niece and spunky side-kick who joined me for the day)....we were very impressed with the whole thing! Kaitlynn won two gold metals and one silver! Wonderful! Afterward, we decided to go and have lunch...we thought we would just drive down the road and find some restaurant but just a few blocks away we realized that the Neville Island area only really has that huge skating complex....and dumpy old local dive bars...not exactly the place to go with two young girls (or alone for that matter) so we jumped on I-79 and headed to Robinson Town Center area...and found an Applebee's (funny, the last time I had been to one was with Sherri and her kids, years ago, when she lived on the other side of the city!)....Nicole had ribs, Kaitlynn had Mac & Cheese and Sherri and I split an assorted appetizer plate (not bad!)...and the four of us ordered two delicous fudge covered brownie desserts with ice cream (with four spoons!)...we laughed and told stories of the old days...great fun!

I was also happy to keep the this I mean the "St. Patrick's Day Oath" that Sherri and I made to each other back in 1984! My parents were out of town and we had a party at my house (sorry Mom, I swear we behaved!)...we were seniors in high school, my sister Erica was "in charge" and didn't care what we did, so we had a party and we bought green food coloring so that anyone who wanted to enter the house had to let us squirt it on their tongues (and all over the inside of their mouths!!! it was a total mess!)...we had a great time that night and the next morning made an oath to each other that no matter where we were in the world when we got older that we would try and g
et together for St. Patrick's Day! We haven't kept it every year...I lived in South Korea and Houston for most of the 90's and she was busy raising three kids, but in recent years, now that we live closer to each other, we are doing pretty good with it. It wasn't actually the 17th of March on Saturday, but it was close enough...and we were together, that's what friendship is all about!!!

After lunch we went our separate ways...Nicole and I headed for Cranberry to do a bit of shopping...first stop Michael's the craft store, because I wanted to find some nice Spring type faux flowers for the office and well, because I love to walk around and check everything out in that store! We had so much fun, trying on stuff, touching everything, being a bit silly, it was great! Next stop, Costco, I needed water and a few things, they were closing and we just got inside the doors! We ran down the aisles, grabbed our goods and were out! It was a great day...and the weather grew warmer throughout...SPRING IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!!! Can't wait to start wearing open-toed shoes!


Wanda said...

I love your idea. You are right...there are millions of blogs to read....people read mine so why wouldn't they read yours. Get Sherri into it...and posting comments. I get more emails about my posts than comments and I wish they would put it in a comment! You can always start another blog or just do CSA stuff in the summer or updates or something. I love your blog and I love what you write! And by the WERE a princess when you had your skates on!!!!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading about your big day. Sherri has always been a good friend and her K. is a doll. Wish you had taken a picture in one of her outfits. Mom

Anonymous said...

Hey Aunt Sonya,
I remember that whole day! It was so much fun! Even at Michael's, when I tried on that hat. Hahah. Good times. I hope we can go back again sometime.