Updates and Mini tour of Ohio

It’s been a whirlwind lately around here and it’s taken some time to get my thoughts together.

First, let’s start from before Thanksgiving!  *wavy lines to transport us into the past*

So first up was Houston Rocks, which is part of The Challenge Swing – http://www.thechallengeswing.com/

This is our 3rd year taking part in Barry and Johnny’s super fun Challenge.  This year, the event director was Michael Stephens and he did a great job in having a lot of versatility in the workshops and some fun contests, like the Two-Step jack and jill and a Century Swing (where the age of all the competitors in each dance couple/group has to add up to at least 100).

Houston Rocks was also a new experience for me because I was asked to MC!  Friday night was kinda crazy because I really wasn’t expecting to have to do that and I really was winging it.  I think I was getting more into the groove of things and on Saturday, I had made myself an outline and it went better.  I even got some nice compliments and some good constructive criticism.  Who knew?

Next up was our trip to Ohio for anniversary, Thanksgiving with the inlaws and of course, C.A.S.H. Bash!

Early morning flight, Monday morning, we finally arrive in Ohio mid afternoon and get our rental car.  Trent, being sneaky, drives us to a bed and breakfast to celebrate our 8th anniversary.  He totally surprised me!  We stay at the J. Palen House in the middle historic Ohio City (http://www.jpalenhouse.com/).  That night we had an awesome dinner the Light Bistro (http://www.lightbistro.com/) with tasty tapas.  If you are in the area, I highly recommend!

Unfortunately by that night, we are both running fevers and coughing with sore throats.  We run over to the grocery store for Nyquil, cough syrup, cough drops and decongestant.  Delightful way to spent our anniversary, no?

Tuesday, we forge ahead with our plans to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (http://rockhall.com/).  It’s only 15 minutes from where we are staying and we drug up enough to get moving.   If you love music and music history, man, you gotta check out the Rock Hall.  As the name says,  it is the Hall of Fame, but it is also a museum with all kinds of music history.  I was particularly fascinated with the roots of rock: blues and gospel.  And of course all the stage wear and memorabilia was pretty neat to go through.  Trent and I made it about 3 hours, realized that we just were exhausted and went back to the B&B, promising ourselves that we would have to come back another time to check out everything else in there!

A 4 hour nap later, we manage to rouse ourselves enough to get some dinner for our anniversary night.  Unfortunately, I really just wasn’t feeling very well and I can’t eat much.  We head on back to Nyquil up for the night.

Wednesday morning, it’s time to head to the in laws for Thanksgiving.  First we stop at West Side Market (http://www.westsidemarket.org/about.html) to check out one of the best foodies stops in the nation.  I thought it would mostly be a farmer’s market, but it was so much more.  Yes there was amazing fresh produce but there were also bakeries, fine cheeses and meats, fresh seafood as well as prepared foods.  I was so wishing that we could take stuff home!  We bought a few baked items to take over to the in laws to try out, like beer bread!

Off to the parents!  They moved to Austintown, right outside of Youngstown back in July.  It is a quaint, quiet area and very pretty.  I can see why they were drawn there.  We spend Thanksgiving there, full of football (GO TEXANS!), new family and friends and of course plenty of delicious food!

Friday morning, it’s off to C.A.S.H. Bash!  http://www.cashdanceclub.org/CASHBash/CASHBash.html

By Friday, we were feeling better, but still coughing and hacking.  We really were not sure how much dancing we were going to be able to do.  We mostly rest and sleep, warm up enough to compete and do just a little social dancing in the evenings before calling it a day.  I wish we could have played more – there were so many workshops that I was interested in participating in and it would have been fun to get to hang out and get to know more of our dance family.

Despite all that, we really enjoyed the event.  Low key, relaxing but well organized.  There were full breakfast buffets Saturday and Sunday morning, plus hors d’oeuvres Friday night and a 3 course sit down dinner Saturday night.  They really took care of the dancers!  The hotel was comfortable, and had coffee and tea in the lobby all the time.  They really accommodated the dancers at the event, including a 3pm Sunday check out time!

Trent and I got to compete in the Advanced SS Friday night, which was a lot of fun – we just wished we were both breathing normally!  At one point, Trent took me into one of his patented around-the-world-spin leads and I thought I just might pass out because I had no lung capacity.  According to him, he saw the wild look in my eyes and decided he better change tactics.  LOL.  We ended up in 4th place!  Not too bad!

Then we both competed in the Advanced J&J.  I made finals and Trent was alternate.  We were both pretty happy with that since neither of us were 100%.  In finals, I drew one of my favorite Asians :-), Niko Salgado.  We always have a ton of fun when we dance, either in comps or socially and I was very happy to get someone who I knew would take care of me on the floor.  I apologize to Niko that he drew me on a day when I was not at my best, but I still think we had some good dances.  And we got 7th in finals!

The best part of the weekend though was definitely getting a chance to just hang out with 2 of our favorite people, Jason Miklic and Sophy Kdep.  We had the opportunity to get to know them better a few years ago, but just haven’t had the time to get together since then.  It was great that we were able to do dinner with them and just relax.  They are a class act and if you ever get the chance to meet them or get a lesson with them, we highly recommend it!

-Michelle

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