Thursday, March 29, 2007

It blooms ... again!

I am not really planty. I have tried, but really, plants are like children to me ... lovethemmeanit but plenty of other folks are having them and there is no risk of the world running out of indoor plants so, really, rock on with your green thumb because I feel zero guilt for not contributing to the proliferation.

I do, however, love my amaryllis bulbs. I blogged about them last year, when I first began my blog, so many of you know the story. (Summation: they're descendants of the bulb my grandmother grew inside during the latter years of her life.)

I have dug these bulbs up, they've bloomed in Arkansas in my yard, in a pot, some years they've not bloomed at all, and this year they've lived outside all winter and still are blooming magnificently. I love them. They're like a friend who visits once a year, and we have a great time, and then it's time to move on.

This year I swear I'm going to properly winter them, and repot them into individual pots. There are at least four bulbs now. They bring me great joy and that is something I must share.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Blackjack

People in relationships sometimes do things that are unpredictable. Shocking. Incomprehensible. It's like one day you think everything is fine, as it has been forever, then poof! your reality changes.

I have always maintained you should communicate your feelings for a length of time - really try to express why you're not getting what you need from the relationship - prior to making a radical change.

So it is with great guilt that I must confide I have broken up with my Treo. It just wasn't working out. Sure, I knew it like the back of my hand. All of it's little Palm-based functions were so easy. It was a little clunky, yes. But the truth is it just kept letting me down. And the more I thought, "This just isn't working out," the more apparent the obvious lack of concern on its part became.

Which is why I now have a Samsung Blackjack. Unlike people, I tend to not be capable of living without a mobile phone. So right now me and Blackjack are really getting to know each other. It's a complex little bugger, and maybe even a little temperamental, and I'm going to have to read the manual before I make any big declarations.

I wish people came with manuals. I would never read them on the front-end of course because, hey, who has time? But it would be nice to have an index to reference when things become perplexing.

And no, I am not dating anyone. Just had to say it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Leaving, on a midnight train to Georgia ...

I will be attending the horse trials and CIC*** at Poplar Place Farm in Hamilton, Georgia, this weekend.

My former horse Rhodes Point will be there competing with his new owner in their second outing at the Preliminary level.

I'm really excited about attending this competition. The entry list is a veritable Who's Who in the world of three-day eventing. Leslie Law, the reigning Athens gold medallist from the UK - now residing in the US - will be there, as will the US' own Athens silver medallist (and my good friend!) Kim Severson, about her three-time Rolex winner Winsome Adante.

With temps near 90 and no clouds forecasted, it's going to be a little warm, but it will be fun to soak up the ponies and a great reason to take Bullet The Black Fit on his first road trip!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Moving Right Along

So, new car? Check.

What to tell apartment complex by April 19 - staying or leaving June 19? Uhm. Can I reserve the right to hem-haw?

I am now starting the rather ridiculous process of looking for something to buy. And if you think I don't need my bff Teresa - Real Estate Mogulesse Supreme - here to hold my hand, you're wrong!

I have several options and am now beginning to weigh them hard.

Option 1: Buy something in Tuscaloosa.

Pros: This is where I live. It's convenient. My Pilates studio is here. If I couldn't do my Pilates, I would die. I'm addicted.
Cons: Housing market here is spendy, particularly for a city where you cannot buy alcohol on Sunday. The resale market is good, though, so that might cancel out the con. Other con - if for whatever reason I was chased out of my job by an angry mob of co-workers shouting "Kill him! Kill him!" - I'm not sure I could find gainful employment in Ttown. Can I just say, too, that I would be really bummed if that happened? Because I do rather love my job. It's like my best friend these days.

Option 2: Buy something in Birmingham.

Pros: Bham is more my speed, particularly from 5 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Monday. It's a bigger city with more options, and it's the airport I use when I travel. Job market is more stable as it's the largest city in the state.
Cons: Depending on where I buy, I could be looking at an up to one hour commute each day. I would prefer looking in an area that would equate to a 30-35 minute freeway commute, so that I'm not all ball-and-chained. Is it worth permanent residency there when I can/could/do scoot over for shopping, etc., as needed already?

Thusly I ponder. Stay tuned for details. And when it comes time to move, be prepared to come help me. Moving brings out an ADD in me that is the stuff of legend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

World, Meet My Car That Looks Like A Roller Skate!

Honda Fit


Hello World! This here be my new whip, a 2007 Honda Fit Sport. I haven't named it yet, because it is not the Storm Silver Metallic color that I so desperately coveted, and which I intended to name Sliver the Silver Fit. Finding an available silver Fit was sort of a chore, and particularly a challenge when you have no vehicle to drive and are in a rental car. You reach a point where you're like, "Is silver really worth $29 a day?" This one is black, which is a horrid color right now with it being pollen season. But the good news is that it's so tiny I can seriously wash it in like, 2 minutes.

This is the first brand new car I have ever purchased. It's not much but it's very me. I love it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Bones

Prior to his cross-country outing, Tiamo was __________.

So I'm back from the Cackalacky (Carolina) and while it was a rather short weekend, it was great fun and I got much accomplished. The drive to Southern Pines from Tuscaloosa? Eh, not so bad. I did leave at the ass-crack of dawn, so made it through Atlanta around 9:30 before the brunch crowd was up and making their way to IKEA.

But the rest of the I-20 drive through Georgia and South Carolina was rather mind-numbing. I could only take 6 cd's with me as I was selling my truck upon arrival, so I chose well and had a few rockin' singalongs. Plus, I tore it up on the Treo, rolling calls like I was important!

Let's talk about South Carolina. Darlington, specifically. That was where I exited I-2o. Can I just say that if you live in a bubble where you think there are vast expanses of property that is gorgeous, and your neighbors all drive Range Rovers and sip Chardonnay in the afternoon, and everybody is happy and fulfilled, well, you're wrong. It's not just children who've been left behind, it's entire freaking generations.

Quit aspiring to run off to the big city where you'll be surrounded by like-minded people. That's the easy way out, in my book. Act up and make a difference in your own community. That's seriously what it will take if we ever intend to improve the quality of education, culture, and sustainability in our country.

Social rant over. Now onto the good stuff! Tiamo is the little baby I bred whose precious mother colicked and had to be euthanized 5 days after he was born. At the time, they lived in Canada, so he was my little Canuck for the first 18 months of his life. He came to Arkansas in 2004 and spent a year with me, then I sold him to his new owner in February, 2005, and he moved to Virginia.

He did his second Training level event this weekend and was a superstar. It was so strange to see him now as a great big riding horse. His jockey, Allison Springer, does a fantastic job riding him, and he has an owner who takes great care of him.

I met up with my crew of awesome friends and we crashed at one of their homes - a quaint farm - down in Aberdeen. If you think we didn't have drinks and watch "The Shining," you're wrong. There is seriously nothing like quality friends and quality times. And do you know who else was there? Foy Freaking Barksdale, that's who! Foy is a rockstarlet who gets her shake on in Cary, NC. She gives a ton of her time and energy to US Eventing and brings a lot of light into the lives of many.

Not having my big truck is a little sad, but it's all part of my plan to get everything in order so that, in 4 years when I hit the big Four Oh, I'll be aligned and ready to conquer.

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Peanut In The Sky With Diamonds ...

You know it's a good thing when you get a one-way refundable anytime planet ticket for $140.

Crisis solved ... Southwest Airlines is how I'm returning to Birmingham, but the only catch is I have to fly back Monday morning. Still, not that big of a deal. I'll pick up a rental car which I'll have a few days until my new car comes in.

Hopefully. I've not even ordered the car so I have no idea when it will get here, though they told me last week when I went shopping that it would only be a few days. And if by a few days they mean weeks, I might be sending out a May-Day to the coast for somebody to bring me a loaner whip. Although the weather has been so nice here, and my general proximity to my office is less than 3 miles, I suppose I could buy a bicycle for $75 and ride it until my car comes in. That would be restitution for flying, since airplanes are likely a major contributor to our global warming crisis.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

In the Pines, In the Pines, Where The Sun Never Shines ...


Call me crazy, but this weekend I'm taking yet another road trip. This will be road trip number 602 in the past month, but it's all good ... I live for exhaustion and the brink.

I'm going to Southern Pines, NC, a 9-hour drive, very early on Saturday morning as I've sold my beloved Cracker to my friend Jeanette who lives in NC. I'm delivering him to her so that I can also, finally, see young Tiamo compete!

I have no idea how I'm returning on Sunday. Likely via a rental car but possibly in Jeanette's truck, Big Black.

The point is ... I am calling to order my CTTLRS today! And I should have it next week. So excited!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pilates Prince

I am an old school Pilates Prince.

Well, if you consider 2001 "old school," then I so am.

I have only ever done mat classes, but am very excited about my newly-discovered Pilates studio right here in Ttown. I have signed up for a twice weekly class on the Reformer, which is the machine you see right here.

While I was supposed to have a private session with the instructor next week, a last minute cancellation (it's Spring Break here) afforded me the opportunity to do the session last night.

The Reformer is LIGHT YEARS ahead of the regular mat class. I'd done a regular dumbell workout for my chest on Monday morning - the first time in a few weeks - so was a little sore yesterday, but I kept mum with the instructor because in Pilates, you do an entire body workout each time you do a session. Interestingly, my chest is sore in different places today, so prepare yourself for me to unleash the beasts this summer.

And when I say beasts, what I mean is Pilates Beasts, which are probably not nearly as impressive as your hardcore "Pump You Up" beasts, but, hey, you don't get to hang out in a cool Pilates studio with wood floors and reed diffusers WITH AN EN-SUITE BOTOX OPTION now do you?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Project Clean Start

My Leadership Tuscaloosa class is divided into teams for our Leadership in Action community service projects.

My team is called Triumph Tuscaloosa and our project is called Clean Start. There are seven of us on the team. We each have identified a community service agency that means something to us, and are assembling personal care kits for disbursement through the agency. (We have to assemble 25 kits each.)

Our team has enjoyed this project as it has been a true example of collaboration, and allows each of us to work with the agency of our choice, but with the same product and end-goal. One of our team members is donating to Red Cross, one to a domestic violence shelter, one to the YMCA, one to the Tuscaloosa Housing Authority, and I am taking my kits to the West Alabama AIDS Outreach.

Part of the goal of course is to solicit contributions from, and involve, the community. My dentist is donating toothbrushes, and I will buy disposable razors, but the other items you see in this picture must be procured and assembled by me. Each kit costs $5, so if you're interested in donating please send me an email. Even if it's just $5, every little bit helps!

My grandmother always said everyone felt better when they were clean, and I whole-heartedly agree.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I am not Phil Stacey ...

So I was out the other night, having a good time, blah blah blah, and this fun little lady, probably mid-40's, who was out with her daughter and daughter's boyfriend, gives me a warm drunk bar embrace and goes, "Do you know who you look like?"

I always love this question, because you never know what you're going to get. For years it was Luke Perry, though that's a ship that's sailed. I was secretly hoping for somebody really glamorous, like Jude Law perhaps, since I was wearing my olive green little Australian cap that's a hybrid between a baseball cap and, like, a military beanie, and to me that warranted a Jude Law.

But no. It wasn't to be. She said, "Do you watch American Idol?"

"Uh-huh."

"You know, he's in the top-12, from the Navy."

"Phil?"

"YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! PHIL! You look just like Phil!"

Y'all, this is Phil. Not only can he not sing, he has to be one of my top-3 American Idol douchebags of all time. Like I would ever have eyebrows like his. Or wear one of those stupid necklaces.

(Me.)











(Phil.)

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Summit

As a general rule, I find shopping in mass-chain retail outlets to be really lame. It reminds me of that old episode of South Park when the adults go to Mr. Mackie's house and he's playing that Cher "Believe" album. I got the humor in that and have laughed about it for years. By the time anything reaches the Mr. Mackie's of the world, it's on a downward spiral.

And this, of course, is how I feel about mainstream retail. Pottery Barn? Williams Sonoma? Yeah right. Give me a little rummage shop in Gordo, Alabama (population 1400 with at least 200 pit bulls and coon hounds thrown in the mix), or for better kitchen supplies, I like Sur La Table.

However, there is one little retail establishment that your dawg loves. And he loves it unapologetically. And that, my friends, is Urban Outfitters.

And if you think I'm not going to the newly-opened UO in Birmingham this Sunday at The Summit, you're wrong.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Go Lean Crunch!

I am having a love affair with Kashi Go Lean Crunch.

We've taken it slow, having first been introduced about a year ago. But things really started heating up over the past three months. I saw Kashi twice yesterday, as a matter of fact, and I was ready for a third but the Kashi box (huh huh, huh huh, he said "box") was empty.

Is it wrong to eat cereal for dinner? I'm not sure. I'm not sure anything is wrong anymore. I just want my Kashi.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stop Her!

I'm not even going to say her name because I would hate for my little bitty piece of the WWW to add to the numbers, giving her a false sense of her share of voice.

I'm just posting a link so, if one is so inclined, they can make an effort to stop her.

I am so very unimpressed by her. She has built a career platform on preaching hate to the Hate Choir, and getting some press as a byproduct. She could do so much better, you know?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Walter Reed

"The system can't be trusted ... Soldiers get less than they deserve from a system seemingly designed to run and run to cut the costs associated with fighting this war."

Having seen "Farhenheit 911," I am even more distraught over the war in Iraq as I read more about the Walter Reed Army Medical Center debacle.

I wish this would all be over, and our country could look ahead to a peaceful, tolerant future.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Gulfport: The Legend Of Barbara Jean

On Saturday morning I got up, packed a bag, threw Maddie in the truck, and hopped on the road to hit week 3 of the Gulfport Winter Classic horse show. Some friends from Arkansas (including No-lid Lilly, the new name of the mare whose eyelid I nearly, by accident, took off in a freak accident last weekend) were there competing.

This image is from the grand prix field yesterday morning, though the jumps were set for the low amateur owners (still level 7 and much bigger than anything I would ever canter down to!). It was a great time, we had a great cookout Saturday night at the campers, etc.

Now, I'm just going to tell you that I do not have a great relationship with Gulfport, Mississippi. Last year, en route from New Orleans to Mobile over Christmas break, with my horse in tow, I nearly ran out of diesel in war-torn Beirut post-Katrina Gulfport. Just thinking of it gives me the heebie-jeebies.

This time we had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Highway 49 Winn-Dixie to procure food for said cookout. Whilst rummaging the romaine in the produce, this vision of hooch walked in. Initially I thought she was the ghost of Anna Nicole Smith. Except she was probably 5 years too old. Then I thought she was a cocktail waitress in a Dolly Parton wig. But finally I settled on Barbara Jean, daffy wife of Reba's ex-husband on the now-canceled "Reba."

Don't act like you never watched it because you did. You know you did.

Anyhoodle, here's something I need to break down:

1. A red tank top in March is never a good idea. I am happy you've still got the relative shape to look decent in a tank top, but unless you're at the gym or Pilates class, you shouldn't wear one ever and, oh yeah, my bleeding eyes called and they're planning to sue you.
2. It's called toner. If you're going to bleach, you've got to tone. It's as simple as that. You avoid the brassy gold by using a toner with a blue or violet base.
3. Low-rise pseudo-Rock and Republic jeans were really the right choice for completing your Cry For Help outfit. I heard you loud and clear, hence today's post.

Just let me know what you need, Barbara Jean, and I will help you. If that's a trip to Casual Corner or The Gap for age-appropriate apparel, then count me in. Cinnabons on me!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Eat To Live: II

So this is the book I've been reading and the diet recommendations I've been following. Yes, I'm pretty much a vegan. No, it's not because I have a problem with someone eating meat. Yes, I sometimes cheat. No, I don't feel bad about it.

However, I do love a vegetable. And I love a fresh fruit and a whole grain. And, yo, I have lost from 173 ish to 168 ish, so what's that, 5 pounds?, in a month and the more exciting thing is that finally I'm seeing my belly fat diminish. Sure, it has a way to go but it's better than a month ago when I seriously considered attempting liposuction on myself using a combination of Crown Royal, rubbing alcohol, duct tape (of course) and my vacuum cleaner.

Right now I'm in Light Transitional Phase and I've not worked out in 2 weeks. I simply cannot wake up when the days begin to get longer but the sun rises later. I'm usually awake at daylight, so if that's 6:30 a.m., then that's when I rise. Like today!