Ya-ya’s Adventures: Weeks 51 – 52

Aaah, Summer!
This post marks the first anniversary of Ya-Ya’s Adventures! What a busy and eventful year!

June marks the “halfway” point of all the spring/summer birthday celebrations. Leah’s birthday was next, on June 10. She was very excited about this birthday. Leah is quite aware of what a birthday means and what happens during a birthday celebration. She was quite excited for her special day and finally turning three years old. Rachel and Mike took her on a day trip to celebrate. Mike’s mother came to the house to watch Hannah because I had a wedding to attend.

My good friend, Kim, from my teaching days, invited me to celebrate the wedding of her daughter, Meredith. I haven’t been to a wedding since Aaron and Mary’s wedding three years ago. I knew Meredith growing up and it is wonderful to see her as a successful young woman. She has completed her pharmacy degree and she and her husband, Joseph, are both completing residencies in a hospital in another state.

Joseph’s father is a minister and he officiated at their wedding in a beautiful chapel in a city nearby. The ceremony was intimate and lovely! The reception was held across the road from the chapel. I had the privilege of sitting at the table with Kim and her husband and the rest of their family. I sat next to Kim’s mother and really enjoyed the evening chatting with this dear lady. I hope I’m as sharp and healthy as she is when I’m in my eighties! It was an enjoyable evening. And I got there and home all by myself (GPS helped).

The next day was Leah’s party. Friends and family gathered outside for the festivities. Leah is totally into princesses so she wanted a Rapunzel party. Her cake was Rapunzel’s face and the cupcake icing was her long hair. Leah and her cousins and friends played on the slides and got thoroughly wet with the sprinkler. I sat with my parents and ex-husband under a tree where it was a bit cooler. The water balloon fight was great fun for Mike, Tim and all the kids! I bought Leah a Rapunzel dress since she loves to dress up. Her third birthday was a great event enjoyed by all.

The following Sunday, I made a move outside of my box again and took a bus to Dover, Delaware to see a NASCAR race. People who “know” me are surprised that I like to watch car racing. I know I don’t fit the “typical” persona of a NASCAR fan but I do enjoy racing. I don’t have a favorite driver, but I do root for several different drivers. I watch the race every weekend from beginning to end. Growing up, my family loved sprint car racing. My parents would take the three of us kids to the local tracks. My mother’s parents followed racing so the tradition went back a few generations. Mom’s sister is die-hard racing fan. She has one favorite driver that she routes for and has memorabilia stored in a special room in her house. On race days, she flies a NASCAR flag from her mailbox. We email back and forth about the race we are watching and it’s lots of fun.

I had never, ever been to a real race. Dover is close enough to make a day trip so I went online several months ago to see what tour buses were available. A gentleman, named Jack, ran sports tours very close to me and had a bus scheduled for Dover. I made my reservation and paid my fee so there was no backing out. It was interesting that Jack emailed me asking if there was one or two people coming. Guess he wasn’t used to scheduling trips for single people, especially women.

When I retired, I made up my mind that I was going to go places and do things that I wanted to do even though I was alone. I go with friends to many places but I like some things they do not, such as classical music and NASCAR racing. If I want to see these things, I must accept the fact that it is okay to go by myself.

The day could not have been more perfect. There was a threat of rain in the forecast at the beginning of the week but by Sunday, the rain chances were down to 20%. It was very sunny but cool. I wasn’t sure what would be comfortable to wear – jeans or shorts. I settled on capris which was perfect. The length kept the sun off the top of my legs yet were cool enough to feel good. Since the race was dedicated to “Autism Speaks”, I bought a t-shirt that said, “I support autism because of my grandson”. I added an “S” to grandson to honor both Jared and Zae. I had a small purse that went across my body so I didn’t have to carry it and carried a small cooler filled with water and a few snacks. I drank all the water during the race plus grabbed another water at lunch. Lunch was a tailgating affair hosted by Jack with a buffet lunch under a canopy by the bus. Even though I drank all that water, which helped with the heat, I did not have to use the bathroom during the race. That was a good thing because my seat was on row 55. The stadium had 60 rows. There was an elevator that brought us to the 30th row but we all had to walk up 25 more rows. I was so out of breath climbing up that I sat down on a seat at row 45 to catch my breath. I just hoped that no one came to claim that seat. There was NO way I was going to climb back down those steps until the race was over!  IMG_1693

The race was so exciting! I was high enough to see the entire track. Turn two was the farthest away and, as luck would have it, that’s where the most wrecks were. My aunt recommended that I listen to MRN, the racing station, so that I would know what was going on but my phone just could not connect to the Internet consistently. So, most of the time, I had no idea what was happening. There was a tower that posted the lap number and the top twenty cars in order but most of the race, the car number in the lead was not one I was familiar with. I know who drives that car now, though.

I sat in turn four which is where the cars start “pushing the petal to the metal” so they are up to speed when they pass under the green flag on the front stretch. The first time that they started upping their speed to the green flag, was so loud and exciting that I just screamed! I wasn’t the only one, of course. I will never forget the fun I had but I’m not sure if I’ll go again. There was way too much walking and climbing for me. It took two days to recuperate when I got home. My poor legs and back! I sent three emails to my aunt detailing all my experiences! She was the only one I knew that would understand the great time I had.
I learned:

  1. This is the second bus trip I have gone on by myself. Last summer, I went to New York. Both times, I had both seats to myself. That may be the norm when you are single but it sure is more comfortable.
  2. God is still taking care of me when I try something new. I was “worried” about several things, such as how hot it would be, what the other people on the bus would be like, and wether I would like the tailgating food. Anything could be off and take away the enjoyment of my trip but all was wonderful. Thanks be to God – again