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It was nice to have some days off without travel involved! Strangely homey :D

On Monday Jameson and I went to check out a Planet Fitness in Houston. Jameson has a medical condition that makes high-impact exercise difficult. Although he has tried to exercise on his own, our lifestyle of constant travel and living in small rooms has been something of a road block. The most obvious thing to do was to find a chain gym with locations in every city we'll visit, and open a membership. Planet Fitness fit the bill.

(photo courtesy PF Spring Branch)

We were given a tour of the facilities by a young lady with blue and purple hair (she had the most complex name so I'm not even going to try). As we walked around the gym and listened to her explaining the equipment, gym policies, etc., I was struck by the variety of people exercising. I saw men, women, teenagers, seniors, some who were full-figured and some who were athletic-looking. I've never in my life had a gym membership, mainly because the few times I've been to a gym (in college and while living in VA) there have been jerks in there hogging equipment or judging others or screwing around. Exercising in public is already anxiety-inducing enough without such people making it worse. But here, there seemed to be none of that. Just regular folks squeezing some exercise in between work and feeding the kids.

So we decided to sign up. Jameson made the account, and I'm his "guest", meaning that I've got to go with Jameson to have access to the gym. That's fine as he's got the car :P I can get my own membership later if I like...and in the meantime, we'll be saving some money and splitting the cost of one membership. Sweet!

Now that we had our membership it was time to make sure we had the proper equipment! We hit a nearby mall for some things...a gym bag, shoes and socks for Jameson, and sweatpants and sports bras for me. There was a Target attached to the mall so we got some groceries too. While walking around we couldn't help but notice how many, MANY people were there to play Pokemon GO. I couldn't help but smile when I saw a dad and his daughters playing, or a group of teens standing in a huddle and enjoying some gameplay. Texas was where I first started playing Ingress, a similar augmented reality game made by the same developers that is pretty much the predecessor to Pokemon GO. So I'm looking at these GO players and feeling those feels :D

Anyway, we got back to the train and spent the rest of the evening relaxing. At some point the band guys got together for some Topgolf. What a lovely day to play!

(photo courtesy Jameson B.)

The next day we decided to try out the gym!
I put on my new workout clothes (including a complementary PF shirt) and spent about 15 minutes stretching, then did two 20-minutes sessions on the treadmill. Once I got started, it actually wasn't that bad.

I am fortunate. I do not have significant weight to lose, or health problems to combat. So I will be exercising to gain flexibility and stamina, "because it's good for me", and to make progress with my sweetheart, whose health is paramount to me. Thank you for the motivation my love! Let's do our best!

(yeah, I know I look dubious. I'm sure eventually that will be a smile :))

Wednesday we had one show. In the morning Jameson and I went to the gym again. This time I tried out the stationary bike and some upper body machines. Neat! Our night show went well. While driving through the train yard to get home, we saw one engine loaded with a mix of oil tanks and military vehicles. There were two or three different kinds of tanks. It was very dark and hard to get a good picture, but here's one of the vehicles I saw. It looks like perhaps a type of Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Cool!

Thursday we had a split. After the morning show Jameson and I went next door to the Houston World Series of Dog Shows! We went two years ago and enjoyed it very much. Right as we walked in, the golden retrievers were lining up to be judged. We got front row seats for the cuteness!

So many times I wanted to reach out and cuddle one of these puppies! But these are showdogs, very expensive, so that's a big no-no :P We walked around and viewed some other judging events, and a new event called "barn hunt". Bales of hay are stacked and rats are hidden among the bales for dogs to find. The rats are safe inside PVC pipes. To win, a dog has to climb at least one hay bale, go through one hay bale tunnel, and find one rat before time runs out. What was most interesting about this challenge was that it's the owner who tells the judge whether the dog has found a rat or not. In other words, the owner needs to know their dog's body language well enough to be able to tell when the dog has found something. It was really cool watching how different dogs would show their owners that they'd found the rat. Some dogs would do a sort of "point", while others would just stand over it and wait. Some owners didn't recognize when their dog was trying to tell them something. Interesting!

(photo courtesy Jameson)

And of course we watched agility too! The dog show seemed a bit less crowded than usual, but it was a weekday after all. More events take place on the weekend. Anyway we had a great time watching the dogs strut their stuff!

Back at the arena I tried to take photos of our animals using Jameson's fancy camera, but most all of them were sleeping, so there just wasn't much to see. Oh well! The evening show was fine.

Friday was another split. This time we went back to the train during the break, as we both had some chores to do. I also took a nap.

Saturday, three shows. I started my day off with an exciting new twist on yogurt (look, it's exciting to ME, ok?) from Fage, called "crossovers". It's basically savory yogurt, coming in a variety of interesting flavors such as tomato basil with almonds, coconut curry with cashews, or carrot ginger with pistachios. I had the carrot one and it was pretty good! Smooth and kind of umami with a lot of texture going on from some small carrot chunks and the nicely seasoned whole pistachios. I'd definitely eat this again! Looking forward to trying more of these. I think they're also something my mom would have liked. She was always intrigued by strange flavor combinations :)

And I should also mention that this Saturday was Jameson's and my dating anniversary! We've been together for three whole years! It's been so much fun, and let me tell you, I've loved every minute. I don't want to wax mushy on anyone reading this :P Suffice it to say that my greatest hope, my greatest wish, is that we can continue enjoying each other's company just as we have these past three years. There's nowhere else I'd rather be :)

During the breaks between shows I tried once again to get more animal pictures. I was surprised at how crowded it was! Especially around the snakes! Jonathan was over there answering all kinds of questions. I heard someone ask him where the elephants were. Sigh :( The animals were mostly lounging around again so I just took random photos and videos of them doing everyday things.

This is our newest camel. His name is Moose. He likes to munch hay!

Moose does NOT like to be brushed and complains loudly during grooming. Silly Moose! The handlers were being very gentle and patient, and the brushing took around five minutes.

All three shows went well.
On Sunday we had two shows, with the first one starting at 1:30pm, so we got to sleep in. It was a Slick Sunday so Brett (bandmaster) brought donuts for us to enjoy. Thanks Brett! The last two shows of the week seemed to go pretty quickly. Overall we've had pretty decent crowds for these first two weeks in Houston...not packed, but not skimpy either. Yay!

After the last show, Jameson and I went back to Planet Fitness for our third workout of the "week", then we hit a Target for some groceries. Monday will be a day off, so we are planning a little outing to celebrate our 3-year anniversary. One more week left in Houston!

Other stuff:

HERE'S a podcast interview I did for a friend I met on Quora, titled "I Love My Job!". Take a look at her other interviews too, they're pretty cool!

A fun article in which Gabrielle of People Magazine tries out some circus tricks with the stars of Out of this World!

Circus. It's a family business.

(photo courtesy Joe C.)

A lovely photo of our train yard in Houston, courtesy Nikki (train crew). The tent was set up by train crew for hangs.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2016 05:44 am (UTC)
Ahhh I love dog shows! The agility is so cool.

Great pictures of the tigers! That one looks really...saturated. Like, he just has the brightest, more orangey fur!
Jul. 26th, 2016 02:29 pm (UTC)
Haha yeah...sometimes I am not good at photo editing. This has been pointed out to me many times lately, so I'm going to stop.

With the exception of food photos when necessary ;)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )