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Circus Xtreme - December Break week 1

I flew home on Monday. This adorable service dog was on my first flight.

Both flights were easy. The weather was unusually cooperative. I actually fell asleep on the second flight, a rarity for me.

My Dad picked me up and drove me home. It was great to see my Mom, who I haven't seen since May. She had a major head surgery over the summer and I couldn't make it home to see her through it. She is recovering well but she's photo shy so sorry, no pics :P It was nice to be home.

I was DYING to check out the new trombone! It was packaged very well and came in a brand new ProTec case. Looking at it in person, I can't believe the excellent shape it's in. This horn was probably made in the 70s and it looks like it's never been played!!

The grip is slightly more curved than Brett's Minick, so I'll have to get used to that. It also has two leadpipes as opposed to the three that came with Brett's. But they're both original; one has an "M" scratched near the bottom. I played the horn for a little bit, and thought it felt just like the other Minick. The deeper grip means a small adjustment, but that will take a few days to overcome at most. I can't wait to play both Minicks and compare them! Huge thanks to JoyBrass and Yoshi, and BrassArk and Noah, for making this happen. I'm very excited to see what this horn can do!

The next day I got to sleep in. Glorious sleep. Mom and I ran errands and she prepared dinner. When Dad got home we ate, and after that he went downstairs to work on the unfinished basement. They're going to turn it into an office.

When we came to a stopping point it was time for ice cream! Mom got us some Yuengling ice cream (I had no idea there was such a thing) and it was amazing. Another must-have treat from home :)

Wednesday, more errands and shopping. Shopping is not a favorite thing of mine, so after a few hours we came home and ate lunch, and chilled.

On Thursday Mom had several medical appointments, one for eyes and one for her foot which has been bothering her. Between the appointments we rested at home.

That night I visited my sister Kate and her fiancee Pat. We all went to dinner at The Blind Pig, a new place downtown. The food is all local and fresh. I had sweet potato gnocchi with apples, squash, pesto, and goat cheese. I really enjoyed it :)

On Friday I had breakfast with my Aunt Nicole and Mom at Perkins. After that we ran some errands, then all went home to play cards. Dad came home around dinnertime; we had leftovers, then chilled.

The next morning Kate picked me up, then we drove to Shippensburg to get my brother Jonah, then we three drove down to North Carolina to visit our Aunt Chris and Uncle Andy! My sister Raven flew down and met us there. It's the first time we've all been in the same room together in AGES. Jonah is so TALL. My Aunt was throwing a party so several of her friends were there. We enjoyed some amazing finger foods, and a variety of seasonal adult beverages! A fun time was had :)

After saying goodnight to the guests, we all enjoyed a good night's sleep. The next morning after breakfast, we decided to visit the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. Almost as soon as we stepped inside we were ushered into a live animal presentation. We got to view a flying squirrel (in a box, they're quick buggers), pet a hissing cockroach, hold a small black rat snake, and view tiny week-old mice.

After that we went to the butterfly room and enjoyed watching lots of butterflies, big and small, fluttering around bowls of fruit and sugar. We also saw snakes, whale skeletons, and laboratories where DNA samples are analyzed. The museum is free and takes charitable donations. It's worth a visit!

When we were finished at the museum, our aunt and uncle took us to Busy Bee Cafe. They've got a pretty awesome menu that changes pretty often. Kate got a "spinach burger" that turned out to taste way more fantastic than it sounds. My aunt and I got a chicken sandwich with pears and a BLT made with house-cured bacon (it looked more like pork belly!) and we each had half of each sandwich. The food (and drinks) were delicious! Company was pretty good too :)

(photo courtesy Uncle A.)

Now we're all back at the house relaxing. Tomorrow I think our only major plan is trivia night with some of our Aunt's friends. And that's just fine. Chilling with family is what the holidays are all about.

Other stuff:

Meanwhile in Florida, the circus train has arrived and the animals are enjoying a lovely vacation!

One animal was not so happy, however. This poor little alligator got himself caught on a rope hanging from a dock where the circus trailers were parked.

(photo courtesy Claudia)

Claudia (wardrobe) saw him and ran to get help. Pretty soon several members of animal crew had arrived and were working to free the alligator. The bald guy is Jonathan, he works with most of the circus animals and has experience with reptiles. The partially-bald guy is Terry, our head elephant handler and trainer.

(photo courtesy Claudia)

Claudia got this great footage of these two gents pulling the gator from the water. Terry uses an elephant goad/bullhook to help lift the animal, and Jon covers it with a towel to calm it down.

Finally the little guy was all taped up and ready for release back into "the wild". Great job everyone, especially animal crew. You guys are awesome.

(photo courtesy Jonathan)