How to Prepare for Rose Parade Float Deco Week

No news to report on the dream of becoming an accomplished equestrian.

I’m having trouble scheduling a lesson with the new trainer that I called.  Our schedules just don’t seem to mesh so I’m sort of looking around for someone else.  The horses in my barn are getting turned out and brushed and my kids are riding – but I’m not.

2010_PosterMaybe no news on the horsey front is OK as the La Canada Rose Parade Float preparations are sucking up my entire life!

Today is December 1.  We head south for La Canada in exactly 19 days.

Aaaahhhh!!!!

And now, since December 1st has arrived (and is almost gone) its time to start preparing myself mentally and physically for Deco (Float Decoration) Week.  Here’s why and how:

Deco Week takes mental and physical stamina.

Official Deco Week” starts Dec. 26 although our first scheduled volunteers are on the 21st.  Starting the 26th, I will be standing in our deco site starting at approximately 8:15 a.m. Usually, Mark the “Flower Pimp” is there waiting for us and will hand me a maple iced doughnut.

Let me tell you – its freezing cold at the deco site, a.k.a., “under the bridge”, at 8:15 in the morning.  I don’t like the cold.  Or mornings.

At about 8:30 volunteer decorators will start to show up.  There will be anywhere from 20 – 75 or even 100 of them.  For the next 14 hours, at a minimum, they will be my responsibility (and my dear husband!).  We will decide what everyone is doing that day, teach deco application techniques, answer questions, and solve problems.

Problems will include things such as:

“The glue is not sticking!”

“What flowers / seeds / beans / cranberry fiber am I supposed to be using?”

“No, hot pink roses are supposed to go there!  Not light pink!!”

“The flowers / leaves / beans / seeds have to be right next to each other, like, touching!  There can’t be gaps in between!”

“I don’t want to be up on scaffolding.”

“I want to work on the float!” (as opposed to working on some float part which is currently off of the float.)

“We think we’re going to run short on red roses!”

In between volunteer issues, there will be tours for special people, tours for groups of preschoolers, old friends and float people showing up, and media – newspapers in person and on the phone and TV people suddenly standing in front of me with a TV camera and microphone pointed my way.

Then there’s artist issues – “What material are you using on that?!”  There’s construction issues – “We need to cut a hole right here to get in to fix something.”  And Bob, who I think of as “float Godfather” – “Are you sure you want to go that way with that?”

Everyone answers to me and I answer to everyone.

14 hours of all of that, in the cold, on my feet, is quite simply exhausting.  Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that I go into it mentally and physically healthy.

Here’s the plan:

1.  Chill Out. Don’t get all stressed out about stuff – like today when I got absolutely nothing done this afternoon because my Mom showed up with long-time family friends whom I haven’t seen in years.

2. Get enough sleep.

3.  Keep the kids in their normal routine as much as possible and keep their stress down.  Kids thrive on routine.  Their days are filled with events and special things during the holidays so I try to keep us on our regular schedule as much as possible.

4.  Make meals easy. Example:  Yesterday I cooked up a bunch of spaghetti sauce and meatballs for quick lunches and dinners.  Keep healthy food around for snacks.

5.  Exercise! I would really like to lose at least 5 pounds before we head south on Dec. 20 because my rule for Deco Week is that I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want.

6.  Remember yourself. What makes you feel better?  A cup of tea?  15 minutes of reading?  Whatever it is, make time to do it.

7.  Make a reasonable plan and stick to it. If something happens to interrupt your plan, see #1.

8.  Give yourself a break. Its OK if everything is not perfect or if you have a difficult day.  Look towards tomorrow, spend a minute figuring out what might make it better (without beating yourself up about today) and then, let it go!

That’s my plan.  Hopefully some of the above might help you through the holiday season as well.

‘Til next week!

Danelle

(Danelle left 8 Women Dream in March of 2010 and is still working  on her dream is to become an accomplished equestrian)

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  • This blog of yours is great looking, but I must say most of the town float websites are really awful. Why is that? You creative float people must have great photographs to put together some great sites, but many of the ones I’ve seen out there look like someones grand daughter created them in Microsoft. I am enjoying reading your posts here. I will be interested in seeing your float pictures on the blog after the parade day is over. But I’d also like to see more pictures of you, your horse and the muddy arena you keep writing about. LL

  • Danelle, wow, as always, amazed by what you do… What a whirlwind! Great advice about how to stay healthy and on track. I like “give yourself a break” especially… I can still be pretty hard on myself sometimes when I don’t feel like I’m “doing” enough, and yet sometimes we just need sometime to BE, to relax, to replenish, after all the busy-ness of life.

    Stay healthy, and I’m looking forward to seeing you Friday! Glad you can make it!

    Hugs,
    Lisa

  • Your posts are hilarious.

  • Danelle, the equestrian

    Yes, I’m coming Friday night. I’m sure I’ll be late – as usual.

    Remy – yep, we do this every year. Both my husband and I have worked on the float since we were 13. This is my 3rd year as Deco Chair.

    I’d love to have all of you come next year and join in the float deco madness!!!

  • Remy, the photographer

    Maple bars are always a good answer! Wow, I love your thought process, very systemic – and that is where I feel most comfy. Do you do this every year? Next year, I’d like to help, and if you need photos taken, I’ll do that too.
    Be good to yourself – Rem

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    You kill me. In this madness – are you coming Friday night?

    I know you are in your element though and doing the thing you love to do.

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  • Veronica

    Danelle,
    If only we would take our own advice. You are filled with such passion, when I read your post there is no escaping that passion.
    Blessings