Today was the 2011 Mule Days parade and, while it wasn’t as long as in the past, it was fun. We could tell that the entries and the attendance was down but the entries that were in entertained me. The Wild Ass Women who are here every year couldn’t make it and I was a little sad about that. They always are fun to see. However the UC Davis people made me smile as they always have.
I took somewhere around 100 photos and have yet to go through them so I will post them either tomorrow or Monday. Today I decided to ride a bike for the first time in around four years. It was awkward enough for me to ride a bike and having to navigate around horses, mules and cars was difficult. It is now after midnight and I can’t seem to focus right now. I will post more tomorrow.
I grew up in the “Mule Capital of the World”. Bishop is known for the longest running non-motorized parade in the world. Mule Days is huge and it would be hard for you to understand the scope of things unless you’ve been here during Memorial Day weekend. On an average day, our population (within the city limits and the outer-lying areas) is close to 10,000 people (I think). The weekend before Mule Days actually starts is the time when most of the people start filtering in from all over the country and even the world. By the time the events actually start happening, our population doubles or we have a lot more people than I really pay attention to.
Right now, I can hear the concert for Neal McCoy faintly in the distance outside. I’m not a fan of county music so I could care less about the concert they put on every year. Mule Days is the main event that brings the tourists to Bishop and basically keeps this town going. Unfortunately, the businesses around town end up jacking up the prices on everything to “get the most out of the tourists” but none of them seem to care that they screw the locals. We have to pay the higher prices as well and then people don’t understand why quite a few of the locals leave town for the weekend. My dad doesn’t leave the house and come into town unless we’re having dinner at Jack’s.
The only pictures that I could find to share with all of you are from 2008. As far as I know, I have been to almost all of the Mule Days parades in my 29 years of existence. I don’t mind it and some of the entries are interesting. UC Davis always has something to do with one of the most popular movies that are out in theatres. We have the Wild Ass Women who ride their mules and horses down Main Street dressed like wild west “women of the night”. Smokey Bear always rides with the US Forest Service. We have all of the local school marching bands.
The one thing that is hurting us this year is a virus that is going around that makes horses really ill and even can kill them. Most of the horses that were supposed to be here got quarantined. Most of the time we have the Budweiser Clydesdales and the percherons, but I can guarantee that they more than likely will not be here. When one of those horses go for around $100,000 I don’t blame them for keeping them away from here. Mules and donkeys can carry the virus, but they won’t get infected. In order to qualify for an entry, it must be pulled by a horse, mule, donkey, any other animal or human. One year someone entered a truck (I think it was one of the local dealerships) and they had the truck in neutral and being pulled by a team of mules. It truly is incredible to watch a twenty mule team go down the street.
I will post about this year’s Mule Days over the weekend. I already plan on taking a lot of pictures. On top of all the animals, we have a replica of the Viet Nam War Memorial Wall in town. It came through today and it was an honor to see that many people lined on the sidewalk to see it go through town.
Today I decided to try to shop for jeans after work because we get to have casual Fridays, usually for a cause. Today (I think) officially kicked off Mule Days here in Bishop and we get to wear jeans tomorrow in honor of that. Tomorrow we will also be having the Viet Nam Memorial Wall coming through town and will be on display at the park for the weekend. Lots of things are happening this weekend and it’s already crazy.
Back to the clothes shopping. I have a hard time shopping for clothes in Bishop and I always tell people God forbid if this town has tall, fat people like me. If the pants fit in the waist (and I’m lucky if that happens) they are about three inches too short. I can’t even shop in the guys section for pants. The waist usually only goes up to 40 (I need 44) and the inseams usually don’t pass 32 (I want 34 or longer). I get so frustrated trying to buy clothes and end up buying them online, but I wish I didn’t have to pay shipping.
I have always felt awkward in a clothing store. I am a tomboy and usually get looks that are actually hard to describe. Growing up, I was always uncomfortable dressing like how society expects a girl to dress. You want me in a dress? Forget it. I hate them. I always have and always will but I still have a tendency to buy them. Why? I have no idea. I have plenty of skirts and a few dresses sitting in my closet collecting dust because I don’t wear them. I don’t have a reason to wear them and I can’t wear the shorter ones to work now because I got a tattoo on my ankle and we cannot have tattoos showing.
I have tried to suppress my tomboyishness (my new word of the day) but I end up failing miserably. I am the most comfortable in jeans, a t-shirt and barefoot. Most of my peers in school didn’t understand me. I tried to fit in and stand out all in one attempt. Hearing the popular girls and most of the guys tell me that I was ugly and worthless, still messes with my head today. I try to wear things that I am comfortable in and are in style, but are still me. That is really hard to do in town because the majority of the clothes that are in my size are gaudy and I wouldn’t be caught dead in them. It’s horrible and embarrassing to be spotted in that section trying desperately to find something that can be considered reasonable. It’s really hard to be poor, needing clothes and having nowhere locally to shop for clothes.
When I was a teenager, my grandma would get so frustrated with me because I couldn’t find anything I liked that was in my size. I don’t think she ever really understood how embarrassing it was for me. My grandma is small and I love her for that, but she doesn’t know what it is like to be as heavy as I am and find clothes that you like and actually fit.
The same frustration applies to shoes. I am 5′ 10″ and wear a size 11 in women’s. My mom and I looked around Kmart and in two isles I saw maybe three pairs of shows that were a size 11 and they were ugly.
After nearly breaking down in the middle of the store and wanting to cry, I just shake my head and walk away. I go back to my apartment and opened Internet Explorer for my like to Alloy because that is the only site that has the styles I like in the size that I need. I can easily spend $150 – $200 on three or four pairs of jeans, but at least they fit and look good on me. That’s all that matters.
Today one of our local coffee shops opened again after being bought by the original owner and a small remodel. I cannot tell you how happy I am. Lately I’ve felt like supporting the local “mom & pop” stores instead of the big corporations that really don’t care about small towns, so long as they get our money. I never really liked going to The Looney Bean before because half the time we had to tell the employees how to make our drinks correctly. Now that it has gone back to the original owner, we get to have The Looney Bean as it was always meant to be.
They have fun names for their drinks, like Velvet Elvis or Caramelicious, which makes it fun. Their prices are similar to those at Starbucks but unlike Starbucks the money that we spend stays in the community and I like that. They have what sounds like a great point system where every dollar that you spend equals one point. Once you reach a certain amount of points, you get a free drink. I love that idea and I have a feeling that these employees are going to get to know me. I work not too far from there and so long as I don’t go overboard, I will be drinking quite a bit there.
My co-workers and I keep trying a different drink every time we go. My favorite so far is the Caramelicious, a caramel-vanilla latte. It’s a perfect balance of sweet from the caramel and the bitterness of espresso. As far as cold drinks, I tried the Frosted Mint Mocha today. I’ll warn you, it’s rich and VERY minty. It is wonderful. Brent, the owner, told me to tell him if was overly-chocolatey. I told him there is no such thing as too much chocolate. At least I believe there is no such thing as too much chocolate.