Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Babydaddy ...

I am pleased to announce that I have won the bidding on Kilkelly All's Well, the Registered Irish Draught Sporthorse stallion that I intend to breed to a mare in Arkansas, who is herself half Thoroughbred, by an Oldenburg stallion, and registered Selle Francais. If you have no idea what this means, fret not. It's a fancy way of saying "a little dash of this, a little dash of that ..."

We will begin breeding in May, and if successful we'll look for a foal in April, 2008. This is very exciting for me. My self-imposed riding hiatus has been nice, and I'm not ready to recommit to riding something 6 times a week and preparing it for the show ring, but I know that will change one day and it will be nice to have something "cooking" to get me ramped up.

I went to Arkansas last weekend to body-clip horses. (Yes, I'm the stable boy/barn wench for my hot tamale girlfriends in Arkansas!) It was a whirlwind trip, but stopping to get my clippers off my horse trailer, as well as being in the barn and putting my hands on the horses, was cathartic. There's a quote that has been attributed to many, most commonly Winston Churchill, that goes "There's something about the outside of a horse that does wonders for the inside of a man." I think that best sums it up for me.

p.s. I'm going to try really hard to get through this breeding thing without acquiring a new Jack Russell from the stallion owner. I already plan to fail at this, so really that's just a heads up.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Red Bull: Elixir or Toxin?

Until last Friday night, I'd never actually consumed a Red Bull for its intended purpose - energy. I think I'd only ever had one and it was probably 3 years ago and may've been at a television appearance in Arkansas when it was really early and, hey, back then I probably had consumed an entire 10-cup pot of coffee so what's a Red Bull on top of that, I ask?

And so it was Friday at 6 p.m. that I embarked on a journey from Tuscaloosa to Little Rock. This journey was part of the Robby's Mobile Clipping Service winter junket, and I had 4 horses to body clip in about 36 hours. For those who don't know what body-clipping is, quite simply it's shaving off all of the horse's winter coat with these really high-powered clippers. Some horses are fine with this being done, others need drugs. 3 of the 4 I did needed drugs. God, did they ever need their drugs.

So at 9:30 p.m. I roll into the Flying J Truck Stop in Olive Branch, Mississippi, just "this side" of Memphis, to fill up on diesel, snacks, and so that Maddie and I could take biology breaks. I wasn't tired at this point but opted for a Red Bull "just in case." Because I'm a lush by nature, I'd downed the entire thing by the time I'd even crossed the river into Arkansas and by the time I got to Forrest City, a mere 40 miles in, I thought I was going to have to pull over because the lights on everyone's vehicles were jumping up and down and I could not read their license plates.

Fortunately this subsided and I reached my destination at exactly midnight. Crazy times, man. Crazy times. And if you think I did not lather/rinse/repeat when I drove home Sunday, you're wrong. Sugar Free Red Bull is my new favorite thing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rhodes Point Goes Preliminary!

My former horse Rhodes Point, aka "The Precious," did his first preliminary level horse trials in Ocala last weekend with his new owner. They were in the Junior Young Rider Open division and finished 3rd out of 19 entries! She was 6th after the dressage, moved up to 4th after the show-jumping, and was 3rd after cross country.

I'm so proud of them and I think he looks fantastic!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Looking Over A Hilltop ...

Not much to say this morning other than, ugh, me no feel good.

Dry and scratchy and have millions of things to do.

I do like this photograph of the sunrise last Saturday morning in Montana. It was really magnificent and I cannot decide if it inspires me to sing "Tomorrow" from "Annie," or "Promise Of A New Day" by Paula Abdul.

I should take myself outside for an ass-whoopin' just for thinking those things out loud. Oh God, what if I sing Paula Abdul all day? I need an intervention. Someone please throw out a better inspirational song!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Guess Who's Back, Back Again?

Hola Amigos!

Since last Wednesday, Britney Spears has been to the Carribbean, checked into rehab, checked out of rehab, shaved her head, and gotten a tattoo.

She has achieved far more than me in the past five days, though I must say flying to Montana can be quite the Planes, Trains, and Automobiles experience.

And totally worth it, of course. The skiing was fantastic and so was the hospitality! I will never forget this trip.

I'm a little under the weather from, I think, too many environments in a short amount of time. I have that lovely pre-sinus icky feeling in my stomach, and am somewhat fatigued.

I shall drink Chinese herb tea and hope for the best. I feel sure it has something to do with my rather ridiculously indulgent break from 3 weeks as a vegetarian (sorry, but skiing will cause a boy to crave a bacon cheesburger faster than you can say "blue slope"). I've been to the grocery and am back on my program today.

Beach weather comes up pretty quickly here in Alabama. I could conceivably be on the coast within the next 4 weeks and, uhm, not ready yet!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Twister ...

So today was sorta freaky.

I'm sitting at my desk at about 4:40 p.m., trying to squeeze in 30 different projects prior to departing for vacation (bright and early tomorrow morning) when our overhead speaker comes on and we're warned our county is under a severe thunderstorm warning.

About a minute later it is announced we are under a tornado warning and should go to our designated safe places.

Of course, all I can think about is being in therapy and finding a "safe place." I get giddy in times of stress and panic. Fortunately my co-worker and suitemate stepped forward and identified herself as what may or may not've been called a "guardian."

I didn't care because it kept me from trying to decipher the emergency map on the back of our door, particularly when I was so ADD all I could think about was getting my inner child to a safe place.

We wound up waiting in the hall for 25 minutes, and there were two tornadoes both north and south of us. The sky really did get that eery green/yellow cast to it.

I am thankful to be alive. I am also thankful to work at a place that actually trains their employees on safety.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Annual Ski Trip ...

I love traditions, and I love making new traditions. Such is the case of our annual ski trip. I learned to downhill ski in 2005, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My friends Schywn learned at the same time, and we were immediately hooked.

Last year we went to Park City to ski, and this Wednesday we leave for Whitefish, Montana, to ski for the weekend. And we're already planning to go to Telluride, Colorado, next year.

This year my friend Brian is going with us, and I'm REALLY geeked about it. Sure, come Thursday morning I will begin my sixth day on a ski slope ever, but I am committed to skiing a blue run by Friday.

The weather forecast is cold and snowing right now, but by Friday the high in Whitefish is 47! I hope it will be colder on the mountain. Because where I come from, snow melts at 47. And skiing wet slush is no fun. Ask me how I know? Well, I really don't know because I've only been on ski slopes 5 days in my life, but I've had powder ... I know slush is the suck.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Carribbean Dreams ...

Wow. So, like, my little dream hamsters were spinning the wheel like mad last night.

I had the most bizarre dreams of being in the Carribbean, on a private yacht with my mother and father and nephew, but instead of it really being the Carribbean it was actually Elba, the island where, of course, Napoleon Bonaparte, was banished.

And all I could think about in my dream was, "God, I cannot believe I'm going to have to wear this bathing suit AGAIN today."

Last night I went to the Addy's. Our agency won a Special Judge's Award for some work they did for us, and I always like an opportunity to hang out with creative sorts. My agency contact won the Best In Show award for another project, and that organization is apparently based in a town called Elba, Alabama.

Combine that with the fact that I'm going home this weekend and, voila, you've got your dream analysis in, oh, 3 seconds or less.

Still, there were some odd elements to my dream. Like the concurrent documentary on the guy who'd hung ziplines across the sea, and they were like 2000 feet above the water, and he said, "One slip and you're a goner!" And I also thought it was weird that my brother had this mega-expensive remote-controlled model airplane that my mother had purchased him causing me to have a total middle child Jan Brady fit in my dream.

Foreshadowing? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


When I go to a sporting event and it opens with pyrotechnics, you can bet your ass I'm gonna be down with it. I love staging and drama. Even if you suck, I will still like you if you're choreographed and well-produced.

Such was the case last Friday night when my very awesome friend Jane invited me to go to women's gymnastics at The University of Alabama with her husband and her super awesome sister Ann. Not to go overboard, but Jane and Ann are like really awesome and embody a sense of humor I wasn't sure existed in Ttown. Is it wrong to make fun of people in the crowd? Not when you're with Jane and Ann!

Pictured is Terrin Hardy (I think that's her name). She is a UA team member, but was also a silver medallist in Athens. She has a huge fan club, and watching her was a real treat. In fact, the gymnastics program is REALLY well supported by the community. I'm not sure what the attendance was, but Coleman Coliseum was packed.

This is one of the fun things about living in a college town, particularly one with such a developed athletic program and a customer-base of sports enthusiasts. I'm also keen to go watch the platform diving at the Aquatic Center, though I have no idea when that begins. I need to renew my membership so I can, at 35, begin training for the Olympics try to get a swimmer's build.

I'd never been to a gymnastics meet, and it was really fun. I hope I'll get to go again.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tiamo Does It Again!

Tiamo, the nearly 5 year-old (I know right, can you believe it's been five years already?) Thoroughbred that I bred with Gail Rogers in Canada, won another competition this weekend in Aiken, South Carolina. He is owned by Kaiti Saunders and ridden by Allison Springer, both of northern Virginia.

I am hoping to go see Tiamo compete here in the next month or so. It will be a real treat. He was getting close to 3 when I sold him, but I didn't back him, so Allison got to do the fun stuff!

Tiamo was "the orphan," as we lost his mother 5 days after he was born. He has a very distinct personality, and I am very proud of him. The first time I ever saw him was in Canada when he was about 5 weeks old. Poor Gail had been vigilant with his every two hour bucket feedings, so I agreed to take the night shifts so she could get 3 nights of sleep. I would get up at 1 a.m. and go out to the barn, just me and him, and it was pretty special, despite the mammoth mosquitoes!

Sometimes when I get down and feel like I haven't accomplished much, I look at my horses and am reminded that I'm not a t-total loser!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Exciting Week

I get all excited when I think about going home, especially now that I live so much closer. There are quite a few February birthdays in my family so this weekend we are celebrating.

I will either drive home Friday afternoon/night, or early Saturday morning (depending on how much salt I have to mine this week!).

I'm not sure if we'll be able to squeeze in a Boom Boom (Mardi Gras parade for those who aren't hip to the vernacular), which is unfortunate as God knows I love me some Mardi Gras.

I have been doing really well with my "Eat To Live" diet and newly found vegetarianism. It's still fragile though. I have nearly no will power when it comes to food, so I may come back with arteriosclerosis.

At any rate, it makes for a fun week and puts some pep in my step. And now, chest day begins.

Friday, February 02, 2007

In Memory ...

I went to the funeral of a former boss - a true leader and someone to whom I was very close - yesterday in her hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi. It is a 2-hour drive from Tuscaloosa, and on a cold, rainy, gray, dreary winter day, I had much time to reflect on her life and how many hurdles she had faced, particularly her nearly 3-year battle with cancer.

It was melancholy, of course, and I felt somewhat guilty. Guilty because I didn't do enough to visit and maximize my friendship while she was sick, guilty that I was happy I would see my cousin, as well as former co-workers from Arkansas who I miss very much, and guilty that I have been so blessed in life (so far) as to not have suffered the loss of many loved ones to terminal illness. I felt badly for her brother, who like her lost his father when they were small children, then lost his mother and sister both within a year of each other to the same type of cancer. That is a heavy cross to bear.

The service alleviated that guilt from me. Because while the pastor did not really know my friend (she had moved before he began serving the church), my friend, diligent as she always was, had written a speech on her life and achievements that she was asked to give a few years ago during a homecoming at her church. He read most of her speech verbatim, and it was so eloquent and beautiful, and exactly Her.

I left her funeral sad to know she was gone, but happy to know she wasn't suffering, and very blessed to've been afforded the opportunity to make the trip to Tupelo. Instead of someone speaking about her, she spoke to us through someone, and it was a message of joy.

I love gospel music, spirituals, and hymns. They move me, and remind me of my upbringing. A song I'd never heard until it was released on the Trio II album in 1999, is called "When We're Gone, Long Gone." It reminds me of my friend.

Trouble, we have known trouble
In our struggle just to get by
Many times the burden's been heavy
Still we carried on side by side

And when we're gone long gone
The only thing that will have mattered
Is the love that we shared
And the way that we cared
When we're gone, long gone

And when we're walking together in glory
Hand in hand through eternity
It's the love that will be remembered
Not wealth, not poverty

And when we're gone long gone
The only thing that will have mattered
Is the love that we shared
And the way that we cared
When we're gone, long gone