The Southern Region Oireachtas 2007 (oar-rock-tus, roughly), is THIS weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. The Southern Region includes Mexico and Texas, down through Florida, and up to Maryland, also including West Virginia and Oklahoma, etc. It's pretty large. Theoretically, the very best Irish stepdancers in the region will come and compete there. We'll be traveling, obviously, this year.
Last year, the SRO 2006 was held in Arlington, Virginia. We live closer to Arlington than we do to the dance studio, ha. My mother got herself and M a converted into a room-room one night, though, and hence they further shared the experience, including breakfast and vendor shopping early morning:) I drove back and forth, "to walk the dog." Mom "Grandma" sends her "O" sweatshirt request and well wishes for SRO 2007.
This year, M is in two competitions -- the U-15 mixed 4-hand team (meaning mixed genders, 2 boys and 2 girls), and a (U-15?) choreography piece with several dancers, that tells a story about fairies and trees (I think). They started practice in the spring, less so over the summer (M's 8-hand team got cut as they could not meet over the summer, and Figures Teacher really didn't have time to focus on them as well as the others), and at least weekly since school started this fall. They've worked really hard, grown into true teams. I'm liking all of the dances being done this year:) They are looking good.
The dancers and parents, and some siblings, are getting excited. All but one dancer from M's Irish (step) Dance school bought the optional "Oireachtas team" sweatshirt. These arrived last night during a surprise party for TCRG, who recently got engaged to be married. (YEAH YEAH!!!) The dancers have a "baby picture" ad in the O program this year that I can't wait to see. It's a surprise for the dancers themselves. Even the solo dancers, those competing as individuals, are part of the overall team. (Some are also on 4 or 8-hand teams and/or choreography.) They have looked over the stage schedules to see who they can watch dance when, including a few dance friends from other schools (while I'll also look for a couple adult dance friends of mine from my ceili/set dance groups). They have high hopes, and not only for the potential accolades.
While M soaks up the experience of the Oireachtas, competitions themselves, vendors and solo dresses for sale and the new styles from other states, and etc. with everything Irish dance related, she'll certainly have social time, too. Many of those from M's school are staying in the same hotel we are, others nearby. M's two competitions are on Sunday afternoon -- one just before Sunday's awards. (Awards are held both nights, for that specific days competitions, which is great, really. Awards can run quite late.) Many will come a bit early for awards to watch the dance dramas and choreography, so M's team could have a good-sized audience. I think I won't move from my seat once her first competition starts!
This leaves her free a lot of the weekend, except for practice time. There's a big Atlanta Christmas parade Saturday morning right along the street of the "O" hotel. I hope we catch a good bit of it, and watch the two boy dancers from M's ID school. I wonder if it's a bit like the Macy's New York City Thanksgiving Parade, or? It'd be great to visit the aquarium, also, yet I don't think we'll have time, nor for much other touring. That's okay. We'll get the flavor of Atlanta with a few meals and walking about, and enjoy the Oireachtas and the warmer temperatures. Perhaps she'll get in some pool time, too. I'm told that there's a nice outdoor ice skating rink in historical Centennial Park. With temperatures near 60F or so degrees, I suspect M will chose the indoor pool over sloshy ice skating rink ice. :)
M should feel good and relaxed, into the spirit of dancing and pumped, by Sunday afternoon.
A few weeks ago, at the Coyle Feis, Si was "we thought she was feeling better," still a bit sick. M caught this. I wasn't going to have M attend rehearsals to be sure she didn't pass it on, but thankfully, she got better. I caught it from M. I was so sick last week, sleeping a LOT (M mostly better, didn't mind sleeping, also). Mine turned into something sinus related (and, hopefully that means, not contagious).
M enjoyed last week -- Rockette's and American Girl lunch with Si and Si's mom, Sh (not a day M would have gone with C and them, but what the heck), Thanksgiving baking and such with my mother then "the" meal and day, sleeping MORE, a big charity festival performance which was fun on a glittery stage, more sleep, decorating thetree and "the girls" (American Girl dolls) at Grandma's (Mom's), more homework, more sleep, and we went to a ceili just to be reminded of the fun of live Irish music and dancing. It'll be both a contrast and just another side to Irish music and dancing, this weekend at the high-level competition.
Monday night after an Oireachtas rehearsal, my vehicle died. Well, more like struggling not to go comatose. Ugh. (Bless a dance friend's hubby who followed us as far home as seemed safe to have the car drive, waited for the tow, and drove us home a good half hour from his place.) It needed a new battery earlier this month. THIS time, something rusted and popped off (I think from the water pump), ultimately requiring a new radiator, water pump, and thermostat. They threw in a free L,O, F (lube, oil change, filter). Something still isn't right -- and they told me this and think it's possibly overheated spark plug(s). Really not recommended to be driven 11 hours to and back, not until they flush MORE gelled coolant out (I think), and check just what IS wrong there that was not wrong previously.
Being that the SRO is this weekend means we leave TOMORROW. I'd checked airline prices previously, sure, I've been watching them. But money is tight. Luckily, somehow, one airline isn't triple-charging their rates now last minute, and I got us reasonable flights for a reasonable price. With the price of gas now, and the cost of parking a car there IN Atlanta this weekend (with an SEC conference football game going on and a big Christmas parade), it may end up being about the same cost as driving. And, while I like having my vehicle with me, it won't take us 11 hours each way to travel.
I'm really tired, printing off more info on high school magnet school programs and trying to manuever the massive amount of info on the website last night, had me up late. Then I forgot to give it to M ha, we of course talked about it but she needs to see it, understand it more, get past the trees that are in the way of her grasping the idea of the forest.
I need to do more laundry. Clean up some more that I just didn't get to last week while SO sick (and, oy, dance friends hubby saw it at it's very worst ever great not, stuff from Dad's apartment, laundry hanging to dry, water bowl fallen and etc.). Verify who is watching Daisy (she could have stayed in our hotel with us! but I'm NOT flying her). All the "to-do's" that I hate about preparing for a trip. We've been checking off the costume needs, and yeah, instead of the borrowed school dress that still doesn't quite work, M can use TCRG Ma's for the weekend! It looks much nicer. And, at least I got the travel plans switched and worked out. There is a monetary worry -- yet we can't NOT go. M's committed to her teammates on two teams, for most of the year. I committed to M, and her school, that I'd get her there. She's not injured, nor sick, thankfully. L's grandfather is, sadly, having more serious surgery, and my heart and prayers go out to them, but M doesn't have this worry. I get paid next week and I have arrangements for the car work.
We'll go, and it'll be so good to just BE there:) It will be really nice.
A few websites of note:
The official welcoming peach-themed Southern Region Oireachtas 2007 in Atlanta website: Untitled Page
The "unofficial" blog -- which doesn't have much so far but promises to provide results (primarily recalls), and photos as the big event goes on (and, if I'm correct, is hosted by a few teens): Southern Region Oireachtas 2007
Note -- solo dancers dance two rounds, one hard shoe and one soft shoe. Then three judges combine their scores, all done by "Irish points," and the top x amount (there is a formula for this), get recalled, and dance a third round to determine final placing.
I'd be remiss not to include the Southern Region message board: VoyForums: Irish Dance Message Board - Southern Region It includes some of the southern hospitality, without having to decipher all the accents:)
Speaking of southern hospitality, be sure to bring your Moonpie coupon from Z&B:
Okay, I whined. I'm done. This is our vacation, really, and M and I? We'll both have fun. I hate packing. I really hate packing. Ah, well. I will love it there:)