Sunday, December 21, 2008

and the busy holiday season arrives..

The last few weeks have kept my day-to-day very structured. The majority of these appearances were Christmas-related, so I'm definitely "in the spirit!"

I had yet another Christmas parade, down in Millsboro! I was able to visit with Chelsea (Miss Sussex County) and her cousin Krista (Miss Sussex County's Outstanding Teen) before the parade stepped off. Donald (my driver) and I had a great time! Once we reached the end of the parade route, I had to book it up to Dover for the Miss Mid-Atlantic Pageant. Surprisingly, I got there early so I spent some time with the contestants in what was once a room, but looked like a tornado-stricken clothing store! We sure do know how to make ourselves "at home" backstage! I was joined at the podium throughout the afternoon by Tiffany and Heather (two contestants for Miss DE '09) and Mandie, MDOT. I don't know what was more fun; emceeing or hanging out backstage! Mandie and I definitely amused ourselves when others were at the podium. A round of congratulations go to Lauren Gagliardino, Heather McKinney, Jenna Brindley, and Shaila Gillis, as they were the new titleholders crowned that afternoon! We sure are collecting a great group of girls for the Miss Delaware 2009 Pageant!

Once the pageant titles had been awarded, I was off to Clayton to join Kayla, Miss Newark, at the Saint Joseph Center Christmas Event. I met a good number of the guests, sang Christmas Carols, played carols on the piano, and just enjoyed everyone's company. I also met a little girl who was my buddy for the evening. It was even snowing that night!!! which made it seem all the more festive!

The following week brought me to the State Trooper stations throughout Delaware. Together, we made visits to hospitals like A.I. DuPont, schools for the disabled, and full-care, live-in facilities. I had a great time getting to know the troopers and seeing them all dressed up in costumes, but most importantly, it was wonderful to bring some holiday cheer to the patients, students, and residents. Most were extremely excited to see us! Batman and Spiderman definitely proved to be among my biggest competition ;) but together we made a great team! One of the troopers even handcuffed me..just for fun, of course! For three days, I made visits with different troops in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties.

That evening after the last Trooper visits lead me to the Whitten's Fine Jewelry store in Wilmington. Fortunately cars have tail lights, because I don't know that I would have made it up north without following other cars. The rain was coming down so hard that the lines on the roads were lost! Slowly, but surely, I made it. Whitten's had an event called Men's Night Out. An evening of food, snacks, wine, music, and of, greeted and entertained those in attendance. I mingled with the guest/customers and performed pieces on the piano as well. It was a beautiful event that allowed people to jump-start their Christmas shopping!

I missed a few appearances the next couple of days because I came down with a stomach virus and was not feeling well at all!! Fortunately it didn't last long and I was back on my feet in no time!

I helped award and congratulate children, K-8, for their work on fire prevention. Firt, Second, and Third prizes were given out for each grade to students from all over Delaware! For the first time in my life, I was told to stand in the back row of the group picture because I was too tall! That would only happen with young students! They have done excellent work, and I was glad to have been able to take part in their recognition.

As many of you may know, my sister, Windsor, is an elementary school music teacher and director of their Chorus. The Chorus Concert was held this past week and I was able to see them perform and watch her direct. They all did a great job! and I even snapped a few shots for the record.

This past Friday brought me to the Hope Clinic in Dover. I was with the same volunteers as usual, Dr. Mercer and Joanne. We had a steady schedule of patients throughout the day which was very good since it's not all too rare to have a few cancelations or "no-shows" in a day.

This weekend, I was with the Governor for her annual Christmas Open House. The Booker T. Washington Elementary School's Chorus sang many songs for the crowd who also saw Santa Claus and enjoyed cookies and punch. I met a good amount of people that I didn't know, including Reverend Gilmore..the man who married my parents!! That event was one of the last appearances I would have with Governor Minner, since she will be passing the job over to Jack Markell in just a few weeks. I will post pictures later when I receive them from Sue.

Just last night, I celebrated Christmas with my mom's side of the family. We had family from PA, DE, and FL all together at my house and we had a wonderful time! My favorite part of any holiday is visiting with family and enjoying their company..and that's exactly what we did!! I was sorry to see everyone go at the end of the night, but we will reunite in Las Vegas for Miss America!!, which by the way, is only a few weeks away!!

I'd like to end my post with a little note about my platform. As you all know, I am very involved with dentistry and I have a little story about how dentistry affects your overall health. My dad was admitted to Kent General Hospital yesterday and it turns out that he has a blood infection that has begun collecting deep in his muscle near his hip. He's had an EKG to make sure that no infection has collected in his heart, but the results have yet to be determined. The doctors have traced it (possibly) to some fairly invasive dental work that he had done in the last month. Because the procedure was invasive (to an extent), it gave the bacteria in his mouth access to his bloodstream more easily. Of course, nothing is not certain, as he is still undergoing many tests, but it just goes to show that dentistry can in fact affect your overall health in many, many ways. I've been in and out of the hospital visiting him, and will be there all day tomorrow as well. He will not be home before Christmas, but will hopefully be getting better soon! Please keep him in your prayers! I'll keep you updated on his progress.

Have a wonderful holiday!!! and get your resolutions ready!..a new year is right around the corner!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

parades for two different holidays all in a week's work..

On Wednesday afternoon, Debbie and I embarked on a mini roadtrip to Philadelphia..the "city of [sisterly] love." We were met at the Holiday Inn by Ashley and Sally; Miss New Jersey and her hilarious traveling companion. Well, Debbie and Sally go "way back" and are hysterical when they get together. They talked about Debbie learning how to be a traveling companion, dating older men, fitting two girls into one fur coat years ago, and other unpredictable stories! After meeting/reuniting in the hotel for about an hour, we freshened up and let the 'ol Garmin lead us to our next destination: Maggiano's. There, we were welcomed by Kendria, Miss Pennsylvania, and a few other Pennsylvanians. Minutes later, Brintha, Miss Philadelphia, and Kirsten, Miss America, arrived to join us for a large dinner! The titleholders were at one table while the traveling companions spoke at another. At our table we chatted about all sorts of things!!, what to expect at Miss America, what foods we liked, cooking and baking, and all kinds of other "table talk." I was sorry to see the dinner end, as we thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. In hindsight though, it was probably best that we got to bed as early as possible since we had an early morning ahead of us! That didn't stop Debbie, Sally, Ashley, and I from staying up late to chat in our hotel room! We did eventually get to bed though.

I woke up very early the next morning to get ready for the Philadelphia IKEA Thanksgiving Day Parade! We were on the Candyland float and had a great time!! I even heard some people say that they were from good 'ol Delaware! In addition, we met people from all over the country including Connecticut and California (what a hike!)! Kirsten did a great job performing at the telecast! Immediately after the performance, we were whisked away (more like almost thrown off the float! hehe) by the float's truck-driver, loaded into a limo, and taken back to the Holiday Inn. From there, Debbie and I loaded up the car and made our way back to Delaware.

Upon returning to Newark, I changed and drove back to Pennsylvania to Avondale for Thanksgiving Dinner at my aunt and uncle's house. We had a great time, although many family members were MIA. Some in FL, MA, name it..we had family there! I had a nice dinner, caught up with family, watched my little cousins tap dancing recital dvd, had a few/a few zillion games of pingpong and fuseball with my Uncle Lou, then proceeded to take a load off in their hot tub!! What a night!! He ended up winning both tournaments in pingpong and fuseball, but I gave him a run for his money! He also put me in his inversion traction devise..I was hanging completely perpendicular to the ground! about a headrush! I don't wait until Thanksgiving to reflect on all that I have to be thankful for, but it sure is nice to visit with family!! and to be reminded of all of our blessings.

I stayed the night at my aunt and uncle's the night of Thanksgiving. My mom and I rose early the next morning to make it to the Wilmington Christmas Parade! How did I go from a Thanksgiving parade one day, to a Christmast parade the next?!..busy, busy season I suppose! I was on the DuPont float with all of the Delaware titleholders; Vincenza, Bethany, Mandie, Lili, and Miss Hispanic DE 2008. The parade went down Market St. and we had a great time!! I was also happy to share Vincenza and Bethany's last appearance with them. They both did a wonderful job this year and gave up their titles on Sunday. I was able to attend the Miss Delaware USA/Miss Delaware Teen USA pageant on Sunday after my appearance at Dover Downs. They looked beautiful, and now we have two new titleholders representing Delaware: Kate and Kelsey!

Later Friday night, I attended the Dover Downs Chocolate Festival. My mom accompanied me and we spoke with many of the exhibitors, taste-tested all sorts of things, and purchased a few of our favorite items. We also admired the impeccable gingerbread houses and creations!! Toward the end of the evening, I performed a few pieces on the piano. The performances went very well and they were followed by a choral group. One of the members was a family friend so we stayed to watch. Because there were no seats left, I opted to sit on the floor rather than stand. Shortly after, I was joined by a four-year-old little boy named Richard who proceeded to tell me all about his favorite toys. He also came to me with a little snowman ornament and said "Here, I stole this from my mom for you." I laughed and quickly turned around to find his mom, but she laughed and told me to hang onto it. He sat with me for about 20minutes and was great company! He and I were later joined by another youngster, Andre, who worried me with that big cup of chocolate icecream right next to my white sash haha! He gave me the biggest hug when he left, and Richard told me, "Bye, Misses Dubawhere." How cute!!

I was back with my local pageant directors on Saturday afternoon and evening. They were holding their teen/young pageants for the New Castle County and Diamond State Organization. I was asked to perform, so while I was not on the piano, I helped out in the dressing room. Of course, when no help was needed, you could find me snoozing on the floor. The young girls and teens did a fabulous job! Congratulations to all of them. I also really appreciate them agreeing to take a "funny face picture" once the pageant ended. Funny faces pictures are my favorite pictures!! =D

Sunday, I woke up early to go to Church before going back to the Chocolate Festival. I met a few of the Cinderella Pageant titleholders and performed on the flute and piano after Mandie performed! It's always nice seeing her parents and grandparents, and Mandie too of course! Once I finished performing, I loaded up my things and quickly drove to the Miss Delaware USA pageant! I made it right before the event started!

To begin this new week, I went shopping for my opening number top for Miss America and then rode in the Rehoboth Christmas Parade! I was sandwiched between Cassidy, Delaware's Junior Miss, and Lili, Mrs. Delaware! I also saw Tiffany, our current Miss Brandywine, and Ashley, Miss Southern Delaware. The parade was beautiful; the Christmas lights were twinkling everywhere!!

That's all for now! I'll have another update soon!! Feel free to leave any comments!

xoxo Galen

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