How Does One Recover from Rose Parade Float Building?

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For the past two weeks, I’ve taken a break from my dream of becoming an accomplished equestrian. The break was necessitated by the fact that I’m in charge of decorating LaCanada’s Rose Parade float. We got home Monday night and now, I’m having (as I always do) a post-float recovery and re-adjustment.

Its hard for me to recover from float time.

More accurately, its extremely difficult for me to settle back into my regular life. For the past 10 days, I’ve had the task of managing over 600 volunteers, who, all together, put in approximately 7,000 hours of decorating work.

Those volunteers put 39,000 camellia leaves and 60,000 lemon leaves on the dragon.

Which was just the beginning –

The 2010 LaCanada Rose Parade Float

Winner of "Fantasy Trophy" in the Tournament of Roses Parade 2010

After the Rose Parade, all of the floats are put on display at “Post-Parade”.

People pay $7.00 to get an up close look at the creations. So, for 3 days, I have the absolute pleasure of telling people from all over the world about my float, about float building, about all of the work that went into it. I get to see the wide-eyed smiles of children while being adorned with compliments from adults.

Fun, huh?

I think so.

Its hard to stop constant motion, thought, talking and decision-making – hard to adjust to the relative quiet of my 4 and 6 year old.

Compared to float, my “regular” life overwhelms me.

During float, I have the luxury of focusing on only one thing – the float. My world becomes the parking lot that we decorate in. My regular life comes at me from so many different directions: work, kids, house, animals, Tiger Cubs, homework, piano, gymnastics (or are we moving on to ice skating?), trying to become an accomplished equestrian, am I ever going to learn Spanish? . . . make it stop!

Give me 600 volunteers and 16 hour days any time over this.

But, more than anything, the drive back home suddenly drops me out of my float world and float family. I am at home in conservative LaCanada, where wearing my “whites” (white coveralls with the LCFTRA logo on them) is perfectly normal, there are plenty of occasions to wear my LCFTRA red jacket to, and other people have float parts in their front yards.

I haven’t lived in LaCanada in 16 years and I still commonly run into people I know in the grocery store.

This is not so back home.

I’m adrift in liberal, whacky, bumper-sticker-happy, Sonoma County.

Hmmm . . . so, the title of this post is “How does one Recover from Rose Parade Float Building.” I have lots of experience and I still haven’t a clue. I think its just a matter of time and teeth gritting. And, looking forward to going back to LaCanada in 3 weeks for our annual, pat-each-other-on-the-back dinner.

Kids are yelling. Guess bath time is over.

Sigh . . .

This week my new trainers are coming out to ride and evaluate my horse Nikki. I hope Nikki’s not a complete idiot.

Where’s my cookie?


Danelle left 8 Women Dream in March of 2010 and is still working on her dream is to become an accomplished equestrian and she is still building floats for the Rose Parade.

  • Kim

    That was fun seeing your float! Great job! That must be such a thrill. Now back to normal life…it can be a thrill too!

  • Wendy

    Beautiful float and wonderful film clip! Congratulations on winning the “Fantasy Trophy”! I can commiserate with that let down feeling after completing a big creative project. There is also that feeling like you are two different people. When I am away for painting competitions everyone knows me as an artist. I am surrounded with other artists and the energy is so high. I return home to being mom and hearing “What’s for dinner”. It is hard to connect the two.

  • Danelle, the equestrian

    Thanks for all the float compliments!

    To answer Lisa’s question: I would move back to LaCanada in a heartbeat; my husband won’t hear of it. And, I recognize there’s lots of good to our life here. So . . . for the foreseeable future, I’m staying put.

  • Remy G

    what a fantastic float! Congratulations! I bet it feels great to be done! Now, I bet it’s on to 2011’s float! lol Sorry, just kidding. Welcome home Danelle – Remy

  • Awesome float – Great job Danelle! You rock!!!

    Do you think moving *back* to LaCanada is ever in your future??? (just an innocent question!). We love having you in CA yet it sounds like you still have a heart-connection there too…

    Either way, enjoy being back as best you can – hope you have some fun riding lessons coming up soon and that you can find ways to settle in that feel good… I *do* understand having organized large events in the past that feeling afterwards – Anyways we are glad you are back and proud of all that you’ve accomplished!

    Here’s to great 2010 Danelle!


  • Rachel

    Congratulations on the trophy. I thought it was the best out of the floats I saw :)