Holding Steady

Not too much to talk about this week. Our weather was a little back and forth, but overall, it seems like we are in pretty much the same boat that we were in a week ago. Still plenty of snow on the ground and on the trails. We did pick up some healthy snows the middle of this week. A sneaky little surprise in the amounts. It looked to be a pretty innocent 2-4″ to fall Tuesday and Wednesday, but the mostly open Lake Superior decided to join in on the party and boosted totals. It did depend on where you were as to how much fell, but I know I measured 10 1/2″ as an event total. It was a pretty light and fluffy snow, but still plenty enough to have to move around. Here is a shot of the front of the house Wednesday morning before I had gotten a chance to clear the snow.

It did not take too long to clear the snow, especially given the fact that sunshine took its toll on the ice rink and it is done for the season, so no need to head over there to clear. Otherwise, the weather was fairly quiet this week, with no major melting going on, just a bit here and there. The snows texture is still fluffy, we have not developed the spring crust yet- especially in the woods. However, I cannot see that situation lasting for too much longer. Things like that just seem to happen this time of the year, no  matter what kind of a winter or spring we are having.

It was a pretty busy week with activities, mostly revolving around the Calumet Figure Skating Club’s annual spring skating show. Back in October, Gracie joined their trial period, which is a low-cost program that lasts for 4-6 weeks and gives girls a chance to try out the club and see if they want to be part of things for the whole season. Gracie will pretty much flock to anything that allows some socializing with others, so it was not a surprise that she told Nora and I she wanted to stay in for the season. She actually progressed quiet well and it has been a joy for Nora and I to watch her develop and improve. Practices are every Tuesday and Friday. The lessons are 30 minutes long, but the club has the ice for 90 minutes, so the girls that are not in a lesson can skate on their own. I think Nora and I only missed a handful of practices all season. I am not lying when I say it will be nice to have those hours back on Tuesday’s and Friday’s, but I can also say it was not a drudge to go to the rink and I will miss it a bit too. The main thing is the Calumet Coliseum is not heated, so in the dead of winter, it gets pretty cold in the arena! They do have radiant heaters over the seats, but do not turn them on for the practices. Only events where there is going to be an audience. So many a skating session was attended in full outdoor winter garb. I never did resort to snowmobile pants, but there were plenty of times where I was wearing as much or more on my feet, hands, upper body and head then I might snowmobiling!

The final 4 weeks or so were spent solely on working on their routines. It was fun to watch them learn the movements, become proficient in the moves and get the routine memorized to the point they could do it by memory. It was really fun to see the rehearsals go on and especially the dress rehearsal. There were several dozen girls in the show, but they were broken up into skill levels and each level had their own costume. Some of the girls had several costume changes because they were in several routines. The Theme of the show was “Under the Big Top”, a circus them. Graces group were the tigers and here is a shot of her posing in her costume before heading to the show today. I had to chuckle to myself, as I did not ask her to pose in any special manner for the picture, she just struck a pose all on her own. My little girl is growing up!

The instructors and other board members design the entire show, but then the parents of the skaters help with set up and take down of the show and Nora and I also volunteered to run the curtains. Meaning we opened them and closed them for each set of performers. Before the show, the skating color guard from the Calumet Jr ROTC presented the colors for the national anthem. They are the ONLY skating color guard in the nation and very proud of it too!

The shows were last night and this afternoon and a few bugs had to be worked out during the show yesterday, nothing major and the show was still very enjoyable. Today’s show went off without a hitch. Even working the curtains was much easier and stress free the second time around. I have a few ideas for next year and am going to shoot them by the club to see if they would be interested in having me do them. Most notably would be some temporary racks that the skaters could hang a jacket or coat on while they are waiting to go out. They do spend most of the show cuddled up with each other under blankets in the stands, but do have to get onto the ice two performances before theirs and many of these poor girls had very open costumes and were shivering pretty good while waiting!

Gracie’s group was the 16th performance in the show, with a total of 24 performances in all. Nora and I did get relief from working the curtains so that we could head out and watch her group skate. Here is a shot of them taking the ice for their session. Nora’s Aunt drove 4 hours today so that she could see the show, so she actually spent the entire show in the stands with her and they watched together. It was actually really fun to be part of the show by helping out with the curtains. All of that energy that the girls had before going on stage was special to be around. Some had game faces, others were bouncing around and chatterboxes (Grace), while others seemed to just stare out onto the ice, perhaps going through their routine in their head before stepping onto the stage. I sure hope I get the opportunity to be part of it in some way next year too!

One final bit of business before I go. The winning ticket for the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club’s Sauna Raffle was drawn last night and congratulations go out to a local boy…Joe Serotzke from Bootjack held the winning ticket! Perhaps I will get a chance to take a sauna in it sometime!

This week is probably going seem like a short one for me. Lots of driving, as I head to Lansing on Tuesday to speak at the County Road Associations annual get together on Wednesday. Then I get to hop right back into the car and come home on Wednesday. I suppose I could make some kind of a mini-trip out of it and spend more time, but I would rather be at home with my family than on the road. If anyone knows of a good steak joint in Lansing, especially the north side, let me know!

Until next week…

Good Night from the Keweenaw..