Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shows of many kinds...

I swear a lot of things probably happened from July 7 to July 16, but I don’t remember most of them. I exercised, did dishes and laundry and helped Dad with the sheep. I took pictures. I chatted online or on the phone with friends. I read a lot of books and watched some TV online or via DVR. I helped Jordan with some sheep-showing tips.

Wednesday, Jenny called and asked whether I wanted to go see Sdralee with her Thursday at Hoyt Sherman Place at six. I agreed. Mom asked why the concert was so early. I replied that I had no idea. The next day, someone asked who I was going to see. I couldn’t remember. What kind of music would it be? “I don’t know…folk rock? Indy rock?”

It was sheep show day and the Boone County Fair, something I hadn’t been to in ten years. Jordan was showing her sheep. First she helped with a pen of three. Next was showman ship, and later in the day she showed her commercial ewe lamb. Showing pen of three is basically smooshing three lambs together (side by side) with their heads up high and their back legs set straight up and down. Easy, but not the greatest practice before showmanship.

We reviewed some basic info on her lamb, and she and I jumped up and down for energy, since for juniors smiling and having fun are really important qualities in a showman. Other rules: Hold the sheep by the head. Keep the head high. Arrange the sheep so its legs make a perfect rectangle, each leg straight up and down, square under the sheep’s body. Basically, you want the sheep to look tall and elegant like a deer. Always keep the sheep between you and the judge. When the judge puts her hands on the sheep to feel its muscles, etc., place your knee against its chest so it will flex. Smile at the judge, and know when your lamb was born and what it eats. Do all that and you’re golden.

Jordan is both an athlete and really smart, so she did do all that. Her only fault (one I share) is adjusting her lamb’s feet too much, especially when the judge was handling it. Whenever she looked at us, we were giving her the thumbs-up, grinning like crazy and waving our arms to hint that the sheep’s feet were fine and to leave them alone. (Dad didn’t even sit with us. He figured it would make Jordan less nervous if he was out of the way—much different than when I was showing. He would crouch in the grandstand by my head, telling me what to do. Hee! Jordan managed to snag second place, which is amazing for her first time out. The judge confirmed that. “This was your first time showing? Are you a natural or do you have a good coach?” “Good coach.” That said, the judge did mention that the exhibitors “had a lot of distraction from the stands.” Who, us? Well, it worked, didn’t it? Jordan even won her class (or did she get reserve? Well, either way, she ended up in the championship drive).

My parents and I told her how proud we were and gave her hugs. Then we went out to dinner. I got home just in time to spruce up for my concert. I rushed to my car and drove, windows down, to Des Moines. When Jenny came down, she was carrying…a cook book??? Oh, Sandra Lee! As in “Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee” on the Food Network. Hee! “Hey, Jenny, want to laugh at my ignorance?” And she did…as did her sister, Jessy.

Hoyt Sherman place is a lovely venue, and we had great seats. The event was sponsored by the Iowa Soybean Association, so all night Sandra Lee showed us recipes with soy while cracking wise with the mucky-mucks on stage and her co-host Erin Keirnan (a local news anchor). We learned that the night before Erin had had three cocktails before going to broadcast the evening news. “How did it go?” “Fine. Just like any other night.” Heh. When I told my parents, they replied, “Hmm…She was pretty funny the other night.” Hee!

Sandra was cute and very funny, teasing everyone around her and drinking liberally as she went. Many foodies don’t approve of her because of her use of prefab food. I read an article where one chef called her “the devil.” Sandra admits that she used to go overboard using Cheese Wiz and has been striving to create healthier dishes. That said, she defended her use of 70% purchased, 30% home made dishes. First of all, as a kid, her father abandoned Sandra’s family and her mom was ill. They had to go on welfare and food stamps, and Sandra had to figure out how to stretch a dollar and make food stamp-approved food as tasty as possible. Secondly, she had found that people couldn’t always duplicate the recipes of famous cooks, and felt that revealing which brands were used would help. Finally, she said, “I could tell you each and every spice is Jamaican Jerk Chicken mix, and you could buy each one, but it would cost about $70. Or I could tell you to buy this packet for a dollar. It just makes sense.” Word!

My favorite was when she made her own version of Bailey’s Irish Cream...but put in triple the recommended amount of liquor. Hee. Then we went out to get our goodie bags, which help two plastic soy-themed plates, soy latte-sized plastic travel mugs and recipes. Then we filed into the dining room for our samples of soy corn salad, jerk chicken, pastry with soy cheese and olive tapenade, fruit smoothie and strawberry angel food cake. Then I stood in line with Jenny for autographs. We’d been standing in line for a while when I felt a hand on my arm. It was Sandra Lee, who thanked us for waiting and assured us she was going as fast as she could. Aw!

Friday I just chilled around the house, but Saturday was the Boone County Fair pig show. I got to see Jordan show, as well as my cousin Connor. Jordan didn’t win as much as she had on Thursday, and as such didn’t have as much fun. Connor, on the other hand, cleaned up! I told him I was sorry I didn’t see any of his baseball games this year, but I’m glad I got to see him show. He replied, “This is better, because I got a lot more trophies!”

It was fun hanging out with him, his sister Hannah, his parents Karen and Lynn, his aunt Karla, and his grandparents Unkie and Helen. Hannah couldn’t stop raving about summer camp, which was coming up soon. Hannah, Karla and I watched some of the rabbit show together and checked out the exhibit building. Later we all ate lunch together, and I had fun having lunch with everyone. Soon we were all headed for home after a hot, fun day at the fair.

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