Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Temptation Waits ...

i'll tell you something
i am a wolf but
i like to wear sheep's clothing
i am a bonfire
i am a vampire
i'm waiting for my moment

Some days I just wake up with music in my head. And today is one of those days.

In case it's not obvious, I'm like the world's biggest Garbage fan. They're like the perfect blend of alternative/electronic/rock-and-roll.

This was one of my favorite songs from 1998, and so I shall playlist it and get all aggressive on the elliptical.

Booyah!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Only Horse People ...

ONLY HORSE PEOPLE. . . . . .
* Believe in the 11th Commandment: Inside leg to outside rein.

* Know that all topical medications come in either indelible blue or neon yellow.

* Think nothing of eating a sandwich after mucking out stables (with unwashed hands!).

* Know why a thermometer has a yard of yarn attached to one end of it.

* Are banned from Laundromats.

* Fail to associate whips, chains and leather with sexual deviancy.

* Can magically lower their voices five octaves to bellow at a pawing horse.

* Have a language all their own ("If he pops his shoulder, I have to close that hand and keep pushing with my seat in case he sucks back".)

* Will end relationships over their hobby.

* Cluck to their cars to help them up hills.

* Insure their horses for more than their cars.

* Will give you 20 names and reasons for that bump on your horse.

* Know more about their horse's nutrition than their own.

* Have neatsfoot oil stains on the carpet right next to the TV.

* Have a vocabulary that can make a sailor blush.

* Have less wardrobe than their horse.

* Engage in a hobby that is more work than their day job.

* Mucking stalls is better then Zoloft any day.

(I may've previously posted this pic but I cannot help it ... it's a favorite!)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Yo no sueno en la clase de Espanol ...

I used to sleep in Spanish II class when I was a senior in high school. Not all of the time, of course, but enough that one day my teacher made me write sentences en Espanol. I am sure this is a butchered translation but it's what I remember having to write. I still made a good grade and my Spanish actually isn't so bad. Go figure!

I have been really getting my sleep on the past week or so. Sometimes this concerns me. I could not get out of bed until 6:30 this morning so I've totally missed elliptical hour. And I fell asleep at 10 so what is that, 8.5 hours of sleep?

I did have a nightmare, as I am sometimes prone to do. It involved embalming, and a family from our community, and the scene was very realistic, but like a fast-frame compilation of video from a Guy Ritchie movie.

This is not "Postcards From The Edge." Trust me, I will trumpet a warning if it gets to that point.

I did have a really interesting vision for a home last night. I have a new life goal - to buy property and build some sort of residence and small barn this year. I have to make room for bebe, and God knows I love to "nest."

Friday, January 26, 2007

To Do List

To Do, or not To Do, that is the question ...

I am not a list person by nature. I am a categories person. I tend to think of the things I need to do, but do not prioritize the details.

With my newly-found focus, however, I have become more "listy." I am routinely inspired by a higher-up at my organization who is a champion of good work practices. I routinely marvel at how much it appears they get accomplished so I figure if you can teach an old dog new tricks, well, you know what I mean.

I think the reason I've never been listy is that I also am compulsive to a fault, so when I make a list of the things I need to accomplish, it gets really long and really grand, and I feel like I have to do everything that day. And so that spikes my anxiety level and makes me feel like I'm in this race against time and, quite frankly, that is what makes a Type A drop dead from a coronary. Is that what I want? Of course not.

And so I have made a personal vow to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N, focus on 2-3 things I can accomplish daily, and ranking my priorities. It's exciting and I hope this new direction will help me achieve greater results both professionally and personally.

It's a little cold here this weekend but I'm excited nonetheless. I'm going out to the barn to ride a mare for someone I met last summer who isn't in a position to keep her going consistently, and has offered me the ride. It will be exciting and definitely therapeutic. Time in the Tack is an elixir for me. (Provided I don't get bucked off!)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cessation

I am embarrassed to admit that I missed my 4-year smoking cessation anniversary. I'm even more embarrassed to admit that it's either January 21 or 23. I really think it's 1/21, but it doesn't really matter. What matters is that I have not touched a cigarette in over 4 years and quite honestly, I am repulsed by them now. The smell, the feel, the thought of smoking gives me the heebs.

Coffee? That's a different story. I am still not drinking coffee. That has only been 24 days. I miss coffee. Waking up just isn't the same. Coffee is Sophia Loren. Green tea is Debbie Reynolds. Cranberry Pomegranate Green Tea is Debbie Reynolds with too much makeup.

Escuchen y repeaten ... "I will not self-destruct! I will take the high road for the sake of my health."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Murder in Africa

I once saw a bumper sticker on a car that said, simply, "Someone I love was murdered."

A woman was driving the car, and I was so effected that I almost couldn't focus on driving. I saw a woman - my mother, my aunts, my sister - carrying on with her life, but with a hole in her so deep she was moved to share it with the world.

I would feel the same way if someone I loved was murdered. So does a working contact I have made. She lives in Southern Africa, and two weeks ago her father, a farmer, was murdered by a mob.

In the normal course of our working relationship - email, she also operates as a safari outfitter and is a very talented photographer - I expressed my sympathy to her and told her I would do anything I could to help her, even help her share her story and shed some light on the plight of the white farmer in Southern Africa.

She responded as such:

Dear Robby

Thank you for your thoughts. Yes, my father was the kindest, most caring, gentle man who ever walked this earth. I have told the press and anyone who questions his death this: Daddy would have prayed for his murderers, while they killed him. He was not alone because God was beside him, and the light of eternal life was on him when he died. He sits at the right hand of God and I will see him again in a place where people do not steal, kill for power money, land or religion, where we can sit down with the lions that we fear and be at peace with people of all races. But until then I will make the world aware that my father was a good honest farmer, who did not deserve to die under the political corruption and unfair laws that make up this continent called Africa. I will tell the world of the killings on white farmers in Southern Africa and the statistic will make you weep, because you have no idea what is happening on this continent. The most saddening thing is the world's powerful leaders, who you and I have chosen to rule our countries have allowed my farther to be murdered and will most probably not allow his murderers to see justice. Why? Because George Bush is fighting Iraq, and what gain is there in Zimbabwe or South Africa (no oil, gold only a little)? The "world leaders" allowed Mugabe to get away with killing the white farmers for 28 years so what example is this? Tabo Mbeki, South African President, is following suit and nobody is going to stop him. Since 9Th January, the day my father was butchered and beaten to a bloody pulp by 50 or more Africans armed with knob kirries, and 200 bystanders, 4 other farmers have lost their lives in South Africa alone, in 3 provinces. I need to be my fathers voice to tell the world that THE KILLINGS MUST STOP. My father did not die in vain, his death will be the voice for the farmers in Africa.

But we pray for all farmers in Africa because they might not see tomorrow.

When you watch a "Hotel Rwanda" or read about the ethnic cleansing campaigns in Darfur and Somalia, remember that there are other groups who are viciously brutalized in Africa, leaving behind families who have no choice but to accept their deaths as part of a flawed system, with no justice system in place to make right such a horrid brutality.

I could never find peace in something like this, and my heart can only ache for her. Read Barbara Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible," and do what you can to understand Africa as a continent. There is a very savage undertone that was once considered "impolite" to recognize. I don't think it's impolite to recognize the obvious. A lion in wait is a lion in wait.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Human Nature

It is human nature to be curious.

It is human nature to be jealous.

It is human nature to feel threatened.

But I don't think it's human nature to vindicate.

I think vindication comes from a fundamental flaw in human development. Perhaps it's the misinterpretation of religious doctrine. Maybe it's the result of a difficult upbringing. Or maybe it's just the result of small minds and small thinking - a lack of exposure to other cultures, ideals, or ways of thinking.

I have never really been one to harbor a grudge or to have high expectations of others. As a general rule, people disappoint. But when I began thinking of it differently - "Why do people disappoint you? No one owes you anything" - I was able to start seeing the inherent good in people.

We all have it, of course. This inherent good manifests in many ways, but it is harder to recognize if it gets caught in a filter of social conformity. But it is there, nonetheless, a back-row choir member, doing it's best to follow along to the melody. Maybe it's the composition that prevents the good from recognizing its full potential? Not everyone can sing soprano or is best utilized in a hymn!

But I think it's really important to find a medium that allows you to speak with your true voice and share your true feelings. When we shed the shackles of socially-imposed discomfort and exist in our true organic form, we make the world a better place.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Creating A Life ...

World, meet Ouisie.

I met her when she was about 4 days old, in 1997. She was a tiny little liver chestnut filly running alongside an exquisite near-black Thoroughbred mare.

"That is the most beautiful mare I have ever seen," I said to my friend who had taken me to see her.

And the rest, well, is history. The mare would become my own - Willow Bay - six months later, and together we would set about a competitive career in lower level eventing. Sure, our dressage sucked it, but I could pretty much phone in the double-clear jumping trips, and always moved up 4-5 places to get a good ribbon.

I sent Willow to Canada in 2001 to breed her, with the idea being that she would live there for a year, have a foal, be rebred and then sent back to me in Arkansas. Unfortunately we lost Willow five days after she foaled Ti Amo, but she left behind a legacy in two really nice offspring.

Ouisie has lived with her breeder her entire life. This year I have the opportunity to breed her and I am VERY excited about it. I will have a foal that is still 25% Willow but, more important, the chance to breed something really nice. I am "stallion shopping" right now, and have two top candidates - both very different, but both capable of producing a really nice foal either way.

We are planning to start breeding her in April. She will live in Arkansas and the foal will stay there until it is weaned. The plan will then be for me to bring it to Alabama and by the time I'm 40 (eek! a little over four years away!) I will have a youngster to start and get back to the competition ring.

It is very strange for me to look at my life without factoring in horses, and the horse world, and all of the truly amazing people I have met as a result of this passion. I sent an email on Saturday to an internet friend asking about a stallion, and got her return Blackberry message from the ski slopes out West. Horse people are crazy, but by God, we're there for each other!

I cannot wait to share this journey with breeding Ouisie with the rest of the world. It gives me some time to pursue other life interests, but also keeps me plugged in to the fabulous world of horses.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy

There comes a time when the mounting pressure and anxiety we accommodate in our daily lives must culminate, and we reach a point where we understand our perceptions of negative consequence are, indeed, perceptions. Some people call this delirium. Some call it general apathy. I call it Happy.

I like to make people Happy. I don't know why. Most people describe me as high-maintenance and self-absorbed, and would never believe that I take great pleasure in seeing people smile, hearing people laugh, or watching people glow.

Not in a "Give a unexpected gift" sort of way because I'm not so good at acting on a good intention, but I always try to find some honest, uplifting words to share.

There is a warmth that resonates inside me when I feel Happy. I can feel my Happy cells replicating and, as such, I feel infectious and hope it will spread.

Come on, get Happy!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Word "No"

I really get irked by the word "no."

I really get irked by negative people whose first response to anything is "no."

What fun is that, I ask you? How miserable it must be to live inside such a bubble of fear and judgment that you cannot open your mind and heart to new experiences.

There are times when I am the proverbial pot calling the kettle black - even I have my limits. But for the most part, I'm pretty receptive to new ideas and opportunities.

On a daily basis I am exposed to one of the most negative people I have ever encountered, and it makes me really sad. This person has an amazing amount of passion, and a relative degree of talent, but cannot seem to build a bridge between the two because of their negative outlook.

I see this as a waste, really, but also as an inspiration to reach for my dreams, and to not wait for permission or direction from someone else.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Planes, Trains, Automobiles ...

When I say I hate ice storms, what I mean is I hate ice storms. Quite frankly, I am pretty sure their worth as weather extremes is about the same as the calories found in a Snicker's bar.

Sure, there ARE peanuts in a Snicker's bar, so they have some organic composure, but that is lost entirely when wrapped in layers of sugar and trans fatty acids.

And does anyone really benefit? No! No one benefits from those calories. Does the Earth really benefit from that ice? Not really! Sure, a crocus or two might be a wee bit brighter as a result of the temporary freeze, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't bloom anyway and, besides, those bulbs aren't really intended to flourish here in the sunny South, just like peanuts aren't really supposed to be in a candy bar.

And so it was this weekend when, at 7:30 Saturday morning I thought I was getting onto my 9:20 flight to Birmingham, only to find that the flight was canceled and I was re-scheduled for a 7:40 p.m. flight. 12 hours in DFW? No way. I called up a friend who shuffled his schedule to rescue me, then went to breakfast, a movie ("A Painted Veil," I highly recommend), then to tapas at Cafe Madrid.

Which is when things started to get sketchy. We had a fantastic time, wound up drinking a bottle of Freixenet then two glasses of port, then stopped by JR's for "one drink" prior to me going back to DFW. And when I say one drink, what I mean is more than one drink. What I mean is a few drinks. I found clarity, thankfully, and determined that getting on an airplane in that questionable condition wasn't a good idea and so I got a Sunday afternoon flight and bunked-in for the night.

I finally got home at 11:30 p.m. Sunday night, and am still trying to sleep recover. It's tough.

Dallas was fun. I got introduced to a few new places, got to see my friend Brian from Little Rock who was down there working, and mostly I got exposed to a really neat world of enthusiasts by attending the trade show at Market Hall.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Surprise! Mobilocity Strikes Again!

Greetings and salutations!

I brought my laptop with me to Dallas as I am wont to do, and now I can work/email/blog (in that order!) from my hotel room.

Yesterday morning was early at 3:30 a.m. Thankfully all went off without a hitch and we actually landed DFW 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Our first meeting went VERY well and gave me a tremendous sense of relief, as well as accomplishment, as this is a business division within my organization that I have spent a great deal of time with. I've had the opportunity to help them develop a marketing strategy, messages, and image, and we're all very excited about the results.

Today my work involves espionage on the floor, which will be fun. I brought my digital camera (of course!) and will be taking shots for inspiration and preparing a report for the business leader based on strategies, messages, and trends. Lovez it!

We did something really fun yesterday for lunch and actually drove to Fort Worth for lunch at the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards. I have always loved Fort Worth because it's so very NOT DALLAS. It really is the gateway to the west and only 35 miles away from cosmopolitan Dallas.

I love juxtaposition, which is why I really do love DFW. There's a little something for everyone here.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Big D

By the time most of you read this, I will have landed in Dallas, where I'm scheduled to spend the next 3 days at a trade show.

(Britt, I will text you tomorrow so we can plan a rendezvous and I will catch you up on all of the goings-on in my life that have prevented me from calling you to tell you I would be in Dallas until, oh, right now!)

As most of you know, I love me a Dallas. I love to shop and brunch and get my cocktail on. We have a ton of work to do, of course, so that will have my nose to the grindstone, but I'm still looking forward to it.

What I am not looking forward to, of course, is that lovely 3:30 a.m. wake-up call. Living a one-hour drive from your airport sucks monkey balls. This is for certain.

See you next week!

Touch of My Hand

I live for my playlists. In fact, I'm rather sure I could not pull off 2 minutes - much less 30 - on my elliptical machine if it weren't for the music. You know, Madonna was right, it really does make the people come together.

I have a tendency toward geeky 80's songs and other eccentricity, but will share my newest playlist with you here.

1. Animotion, "Obsession"
2. Nelly Furtado, "Maneater"
3. Prince, "Controversy"
4. Britney Spears, "Touch of My Hand" (Bill Hamel Club Mix)
5. Nelly Furtado, "Promiscuous"
6. Freemasons, "Love On My Mind" (Afterhours Mix)

It runs 31.34 minutes, so is perfect for the 30 minute programs on the elliptical. And I love it so much I listen to it again while I do my lifting.

I need to be a bit more gay-responsible when it comes to my dance music. When I get my CTTLRS I am totally getting XM Radio, tuning it to BPM, and never leaving the car.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Future Bright ...

At the beginning of my weekend, I was overwhelmed by all of the things I needed to accomplish. You see, I still had not detailed my 2007 budget, written down any of my goals, figured out how to define the metrics for measuring my goals (OK, that was a very special guest appearance by my inner-marketing geek), nor completed a significant portion of hands-on project management.

I made a list, ticked it off, and today I feel awesome for making things happen.

Slow and steady does indeed win the race.

I'm also about to unveil something really signficant. I have broken up with coffee. And with peanut butter. And I am feeling better. I am wondering if coffee/caffeine has a direct relationship with my self-diagnosed adult onset ADD? I mean, I am still totally doing coffee's very distant cousin, green tea, so I am not entirely removed from the toxin, but otherwise I am feeling great.

Peanut butter? I miss good old PB. But you know what PB causes, ironically, don't you? PermaBelly v2.0, that's what. They thought they were so clever with their little matching initials masquerading right before my eyes. But I have had it with the PB's. They're dead to me.

Dr. Fuhrman's book "Eat To Live" is already mad radical on what we should be eating to maintain optimal health. It's very interesting, to say the least. If I were Nicole Richie's publicist, I would just instruct her to say she's on the "Eat To Live" diet, and be done with it. Because after six months of eating pretty much fruit and vegetables and some limited whole grains, I think everyone would be looking a lot leaner.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Eating Healthy Costs A Lot ...


One of the things I've become aware of over the past year, is how I think I spend more money on groceries than the average person, and how little it appears I get when I go grocery shopping.

I have done some casual, informal research - mainly asking my friends, family, etc. - and had an employee at Winn Dixie who happened to be behind me in line a few months ago comment, when my total rang up, "It's expensive to eat healthy isn't it?"

Why yes, yes it is. And here's a neat little article confirming my suspicions.

On average, I spend about $80 a week on groceries. I have put myself on a budget for 2007 and have budgeted $75 per week, as I think it's ridiculous to spend more than that - $300 per month - on food. Last night I got out of there at $65, but suspect I'll be scratching the cupboards by Tuesday.

I am reading yet another diet book, "Eat To Live," by Dr. Fuhrman (www.drfurhman.com), in hopes I will eventually shed PermaBelly v2.0 without medical assistance, and as it appears to be an eating program comprised of mostly fruit and veggies, it looks like I'll be spending more time on the coast this summer helping with the harvest, to offset some food costs. (My family does a pretty good job with gardening and, hey, I will work for fresh food, especially blueberries.)

The flip side, of course, is that $300 a month to prolong your health is pretty cheap when you consider the downside of poor food choices. At this point in my life it's sink or swim where weight control and personal fitness is concerned. Gone are the days of showing up at the gym just to look cute and get attention.

Behold! A new day has dawned! Borne of necessity, it is a day of radical fitness overhaul!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Feast or Famine ...


So this pic, sent to me last night by Harmonica, makes me laugh, and here's why ... that is not a bathing suit I'm wearing, it's my underwear! This pic was taken in Puerto Vallarta on a guided horseback ride through the rainforest, where there was this huge waterfall. I have a hard time paying attention to minor details like disclaimers in the brochure that say "bring a swimsuit" and normally would not be wearing such skimpy drawers but I guess the Fates were shining on me that day because I'm all happy and it has been captured in eternity on digital 1's and 0's.

Post-holiday letdown paid me a visit yesterday. I worked until 7:15 and will likely be in the office all weekend. Le sigh. Bitch gotta do what a bitch gotta do. It's fun to reflect on fun times to balance the less than fun times. Thanks Harmonica!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fade Away and Radiate ...

I am so officially old.

I have been madly in love with Blondie since I was a wee one. And when I say wee, what I mean is 9 years old. I was entirely too obsessed with "Call Me" from the "American Gigolo" soundtrack and my mother wouldn't let me watch the movie, so it made it even that more alluring to me.

I listened to this CD on my recent trip to the coast and was reminded of how awesome Blondie is/was. (I love some of their newer stuff too.)

In 1995 an album called "Blondie: Remade, Remixed, Remodeled" was released and it, too, is hott. But nothing beats the original, you know?

And so I wish everyone an Atomic day! I hope everyone can Eat To The Beat! Don't find yourself Hanging On The Telephone! But, if you do, make sure you Call Me!

Damn, I just sent the Awesome Meter off the chart!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Onward, Upward ...

I like making resolutions, but I'm sometimes overwhelmed by them. In my typical compulsive fashion, I cannot make just one small resolution, I must make 23.

This year my resolutions are centered around preparing for graduate school this fall. I am seriously considering an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Alabama. (I hear my book publisher rejoice! "Thank God! Can we please get this book out of him so that we can wash our hands of Robby Johnson forever?!)

I'm also still focused on minimizing clutter, getting in better shape, and becoming a movie star.

photo: Me and my niece on New Year's Eve. She has lots of star quality.