Friday, October 31, 2008

Clear Lenses ...

It's hard out there for a pimp.

If I had to give this week some metaphorical lift, I'd say it's been a half-dolla pimp trying to sell some twenty-five cent ho's.

And I hate it when that happens.

The good news is:

  1. The Cadillac. It's like this exercise salvation for me and I love it - really - in ways that probably aren't healthy.
  2. My friend Marcia organized the cutest Canine Costume party Monday night at the park pavilion down on the river. It was so much fun. Maddie wore her Barbour-esque coat as it was quite cold and while it wasn't so much a costume, my friend Katherine quickly labeled her Camilla Parker Bowles.
  3. I have tickets to the game tomorrow. Whee!
  4. My cousin Lindsay (MCL) started my week off on a hysterical note. So she's 18 and has just moved up here to Tuscany to get her education on. She lives in a small apartment and at 6:45 a.m. my phone rang so, worrier that I am, I tackled it and this little sad traumatized voice started explaining that a mouse had run over her foot while she was drying off from showering. She was trapped on her sofa and freaking out. Unfortunately I had an early morning at la oficina so I had to do a rational talk down and, fortunately, she has survived the week without any additional mouse attacks. She still has eyes in the back of her head, though.
The bad news:

  1. I attempted to transfer some important files to a CD at work and instead wound up deleting them. Who does that anymore? I mean, that's such a lame, newbie thing to do. And, yet, I did it. Goodbye comprehensive pilates study guide all beautifully formatted in InDesign. I shall recreate you. I shall rebuild you.
  2. I am still in major mourning over a loss of critical skillsets but, more important, am concerned for my friends who need to find avenues for expressing them. I'm doing what I can to help. We will persevere!
  3. I am gut wrenched that my former horse had colic surgery last night at LSU. He's apparently fine but, still, it was a dagger through the heart.
And that's it. This week in review. I'm hoping November ushers in some change. Remember to vote on Tuesday, and have a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Remembering Ann Pressly

When I initially read this story last week, when Ann was still alive, I was sick to my stomach. While I didn't know Ann very well, we did meet on a few occasions regarding a project which benefited the Humane Society of Pulaski County I worked on with my friends while I lived in Little Rock. Ann was a huge supporter and gave us great time on Good Morning Arkansas, and genuinely had interest in the project.

My impression of her was no different than everyone else's. She was so full of life, warmth, and energy the room simply ignited when she was in it. She was talented. Not only was she stunning on the surface, she was exceptional as a broadcaster and savvy as a journalist. She knew what stories were relevant and she went after them with zest, and ing them with such precision it amazed me when I realized just how young she was.

This is a horrible, senseless tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with Ann's family.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Absolutely ...

Asking me to determine my favorite Absolutely Fabulous episode is like asking me to name my favorite Madonna song. And if you think that wasn't 2008's most honest stereotypical confession, you're wrong. But in these times of struggle, one must retain perspective where creative and artistic influence are concerned. There's an episode of AbFab wherein Edina and Saffy are awakened in the middle of the night with their house on fire. It's very panicky and Edina insists on changing amidst the mayhem and as she's flicking through her closet says, disgustedly, "God I hate all of my clothes."

I do this from time to time as well. It's like one day I just look in the closet and think, "I have to adapt!" Granted, I have limited dolores these days for a serious wardrobe update because, like most intelligent people facing economic recession I've put my thousands of saved retirement dollars in a Swiss Bank Account opted to educate myself as a pilates instructor. And you know, this isn't such a bad gig because what do you wear to work everyday? Workout clothing! Hoorah!

But because my full-time job helps me pay my bills, helps me pay my telephone bill, helps me pay my automobile, because it does so baby we can chill - OK, sorry, I listened to my Destiny's Child #1's CD yesterday somewhere between Tupelo and West Point, Mississippi, and stop judging because it was awesome - I need some enhanced work apparel.

Who's up for a sniff around The Summit?

On another note ... the Cadillac RULES in all things pilates and I've decided to marry the one at our studio. I've lived just long enough to realize you don't need a million dollars, you don't need some scrub (male or female) sweating you, trying to suck the life out ... you just need pilates. End of story.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Things That Go Bump In The Night

I'm not even kidding, at like 2:46 a.m. something fell or crashed or broke in my apartment. It was a bone chilling shatter that woke me from a dead sleep.

I got up to investigate and, like you do at 2:46 a.m., didn't really think strategically. Instead, I stood at my door and asked, aloud, "What was that?"

I don't know if I expected it to answer, "Oh it was just me, the window, shattering as a result of that Molotov cocktail that just got tossed in," or if I thought Maddie would answer with a, "Don't worry, it was probably nothing."

So I did the next logical thing which was turned around and climbed back in bed.

And as it turns out, it was a chrome wire hook on suction cups that had fallen in the tub.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Big Pictures

Yesterday morning I slept until 7 because the power had gone off and of course I didn't know. EEK! I had to rush around, miss coffee (a REALLY big deal for me), and didn't make my bed. I abhor this sort of thing but damn it felt good to sleep.

And I think that's why I was able to deliver on a few critical things yesterday at work: maximizing priorities and making informed decisions, regardless of perceived reactions, continues to be my focus.

As a strategist, I struggle sometimes with tactical execution. My strength is seeing a big picture and understanding what needs to happen, then identifying and delegating to the appropriate resources. Fortunately I have significant competencies in my network and together we make great things happen, so Hilary was right - it really does take a village.

That's not to say I don't have some tactical skill. I do, in fact, have a little bit of experience in many things. But as the orchestra conductor or 6-team carriage driver, I must pick and choose carefully when to practice because if I'm gone too long the music gets off tune and the horses start running blindly.

With that said, I love me some fonts.

For some crazy reason, I can see a picture in my head and know exactly how I want it to appear in a final stage, but having lacked technical skill in design/desktop publishing, felt a bit trapped by not being able to create it. As an artist it's a little bit easier, right? Just brush, paint, and canvas, and you're on your way. Mouse clicks meeting a lexicon of design language that one might sort of comprehend but not maintain fluency is daunting.

But when I get all of the elements together - the tools, the bones, the structure - I am able to move from that static state to more of a vertical path. It's like getting on a ladder at the bottom rung and climbing toward the top. Each step gets you closer. And suddenly the story you've captured goes from standard black and white word processing to formatted and embodied with a look and feel that supports the message and creates an identity.

It may sound simple, but to me it's always been complex. Developing a more practiced approach has been empowering but with that said, I'm not looking to become a typesetter by any means!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Accepted!

I passed my Level I matwork/reformer certification exam with Stott Pilates. I received a mark of 90 on the practical component and an 82 on the written component, for a collective score of 86%. The written was hard and of course I wanted to make 100 on both. Oh well, it's done. And now I'm off to conquer the Cadillac!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend at Roland's



I was really fortunate on the weekend to've headed down to the country. The weather (and I don't mean that in a "How's the weather?" way) was spectacular and made me happy to be alive. I stopped in Faunsdale with two tubes of dewormer for the girls. They were fresh and sassy and gave us a little gallop demonstration before trotting up to the gator for carrots and pets.

I gave Ouisie her dose first, then as I stood there scratching her withers, got the big idea that it would be fun to sit on her bareback. Susan was putting the finishing touches on catching Ellie, and didn't discourage me from it, so I hopped up on her from the ground and she stood like a rock. I found this really admirable since I'm pretty sure Ouisie hasn't been ridden in at least 3 years! Susan had never sat on her mare bareback so within a minute we were both hacking in just halters over the huge hayfield, with a shockingly blue sky overhead. Life doesn't get much better.

There was a questionable moment when Maddie tried to flush something cheeping from the brush. I am pretty sure it was baby quail though thank God the mother wasn't there. That's always alarming when you're astride, even on your properly tacked and conditioned campaigner.

We pressed on from Faunsdale to Camden where I met my parents, who have their camper trailer at Roland Cooper State Park through the end of the month. Interestingly enough, that's MSJ and her family in the photograph probably 4 years back, holla! I love getting to visit my parents and family, even if all we do is sit in chairs around a fire, contemplating what we're going to eat next.

My mother and I took Maddie for a walk around the park yesterday morning and here are some images I took. So relaxing and exactly what the doctor ordered. Here's to a good week!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vanity Y'all

All I really want is for my mother f*cking domain name - www.robbyjohnson.com - which, can I just say I've owned for 6 years and never done anything with - to point to this blog. That's it. Not complicated limb reattachment surgery. Not Paul McCartney's divorce. Not peace in Sudan. Just point the DNS from one place to the next and get on with my bidness.

I took a big step earlier this week when I actually setup a blog for one of my boss' daughter at Wordpress. And it was easy. Oh so easy. Like mother f*cking Sunday morning easy. So that inspired and encouraged me to break out of the fear mold with www.robbyjohnson.com. Why? I don't know. Oprah aspirations maybe? Who can say?

(An aside: When I'm done with something or someone, I cannot apologize for the mother f*cking f-bombs I spew AK-47 style. Sorry if it offends.)

I've done support with Network Solutions. I found this resource which seems oh-so-helpful. But in typical Robby style I needed multiple options, so while I was on the phone with Bopsie in India (Bopsie? Really? Where do they get these names? Sometimes when I call customer service and it defaults to foreign country call centers I laugh at the name selections. "Hi, I'm Sparkles!") who was making my changes, I was making my changes, and now Blogger is like, "Girl someone else already blogging at this domain."

And I'm like, "Yeah, I know jackass, it's me." So anywho, I just took the whole thing down and will try again over the weekend. There's apparently a propagation period of 24-36 hours so maybe by Monday we'll be able to come directly to my blog via my personal domain name. An aside - do I need to be hosting this anywhere? Because Network Solutions wouldn't let me define a CNAME without transfering the hosting. Crazy.

This is important because Step 3 is the rollout of something really REALLY awesome that is a collaborative effort between me and some really neat people. I really am inspired and want it to go sooner rather than later.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Guess Who's Back?

First off: KORTO WAS ROBBED! There, I said it.

I got my little Banzai back on Tuesday and that means life is good. He cannot be waxed for 60 days but he can be washed as much as needed. Interesting to me was the fact that "Needs 2 new doors" really meant "2 door panels," so they actually didn't replace the entire door, just that black part. Make sense? Everything works and all is good.

Last night I taught a new group on the mat (love it!) and I have some really fabulous new clients. One of them was doubtful of her abilities (she was great!) but did say at the end that while she felt like she wasn't doing it correctly, she was "vibrating" inside her abdomen. I'm not sure I've ever made anyone vibrate but honestly I took this as a huge compliment. "Obliques" will do it to you everytime.

Normally I don't add those until the second session but I've learned to give a first-timer something to remember. People are masochistic as a general rule, and they like their exercise to bitchslap them the next day. The more evolved I've become throughout this method the more I eschew that mentality - and I do reference it in training - but I also know I like the way my body feels after it's been thoroughly engaged for an hour.

Which is why I cannot wait to learn to teach on the Cadillac. My buddy Justin has agreed to be my Cadillac test-dummy and my goal is to make him look like Sharon Stone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Into The Nightlife

I think I just want to hang out with Cyndi Lauper full-time. Bitch knows how to have fun.

It's so weird because I'm reconnecting with a bunch of my friends from high school and college and it's like, 20 years later, so much has changed for them: kids, homes, adult things. And my life is still pretty much centered around me and the things I like to do. Which may or may not include going out dancing until the wee hours of the morning every chance I get on occasion.

Sigh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mary J. Blige

Yesterday morning I seriously had to force myself out of bed at 7:00 a.m., which is very unlike me as I'm normally making an effort to get moving by 5. I went to bed at 10 on Sunday night so am not really sure what the dilly-yo was but all I can say is that it felt Just Fine Fine Fine Fine Fine Fine OOOH!

Which is probably why, last night, I dreamt that Mary J. Blige and I were walking in some sort of walk-a-thon by the Little Rock Zoo, and she was wearing a pink dress, and we both had to yell at a little kid who was littering. Because that's what I do when I dream - I connect with R&B divas. I also wonder if this some foreshadowing for Korto on this week's season finale of Project Runway? It must. That's the only logical explanation.

"Use your paranormal powers for good, Robby! Who cares about cracking the Powerball matrix via the subconcious? What really matters is that you embody and translate the post-modern oppression and artistic expression of your black sisters."

I have been working more on my book and I'm past a hurdle. Not exactly flowing like a burst dam, but definitely more than a stream struggling to trickle in a drought. It can be difficult to describe it as a storyline because it's still very close to me. It's easier to communicate the visual elements and inspiration I see in my head when I think of the story. There's a lot of palmetto scrub, tar papered exteriors, stark faces, and dust in the background. The present setting is 24-hours post-Katrina in New Orleans.

Maybe when the entire story comes together my ability/need to plug into "the soul" will make more sense.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Me And My ESP

If you think I did not dream about sharks, and SHARK BABIES, last night, you're wrong.

Of course, my shark babies were trying to talk to me while they were gnawing on my arms and legs with little bitty teeth and I kept saying, "What? What is it you want from me? Damn! Get the Hell off of my arm."

Clearly I need to make some changes in my life.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Shameless Self-Pity

Anyone who knows me knows I love attention. In fact, my name is Sir Robby Johnson and I'm the King of Attentionia.

So of course nothing bothers me more than busting it either at work, or for someone else, and not being recognized for the effort.

This totally contradicts my personal belief that we should be selfless and do things for people because we have the ability to do them - not because we expect to gain from it.

By the way, my army just conquered Contradictia and I'm now the King there too. God I rule.

At any rate, I feel better just typing this. I recognize a few successes and if no one else does, that's OK. I know I've contributed and that's really what should drive, compel and propel me.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Cadillac Blackjack ...

Did I not just mention how I'm going to scale back? Yeah, here's the thing - not scaling back.

I am about 90% sure I'm going to pursue Level 1 training on the Cadillac over the next month. This means two trips to Memphis (yay!) which I always love because I get to see my soulmate cousin who fills my heart with positivity.

When I get to practice pilates, my very favorite apparatus is the Cadillac. I've had two really excellent instructors who've made my body feel like it didn't even belong to me, and I would love to be able to share that experience with someone else.

My head's in a really different place now that I've tested (still waiting for written results - crosses fingers) and I have a higher level of confidence and almost a "hunger" for learning more about the work. I may as well train now while I'm in this mindset.

MSJ and I have a plan to bring pilates to the country. Yeehaw y'all!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Self-Responsibility

So yesterday I took my car to the repair shop. Not surprisingly the process was full of screw-ups pretty much from the outset:

Can't find my file? Check.
No rental car RSVP? Check.
Insurance agency (not mine) and attorney for accused failing to connect and thusly holding me, the "victim," hostage without a rental car while they finalize their negotiations? Check.

I knew when this whole fiasco started that I would have to take responsibility for ensuring all the responsible parties honored their commitments. I'm glad I had that foresight. Because had I not hammered and pushed yesterday, I'd have been walking home.

Insurance is a racket.
Parents who think they can just write a check are contributing to the general irresponsibility of young people.
People as a general rule don't "hear" you unless you speak really directly.

So, as a sweeping statement, thanks Douchebag FuckNugget for hitting my car and trying to flee. I'm glad your ass got caught and guess what, I'll see you in court on October 28. I don't care if your mama and daddy are fixing it with their money. I want you to stand up and apologize and take responsibility for your actions. Man-up!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Happy Goes The Mares

Since Ouisie arrived in Alabama in January, she's sort of been on Alabama: My Adventure, and it's really put a lot of strain on my gut. I must say, I like for my horses to be stationary, with a degree of permanence to their living scenarios.

Though I haven't had the Ouister's girly bidness poked and prodded by veterinary experts (yet), she has gone to live with a friend's mare at their farm about 1:15 south of town. It's a beautiful area I traverse when I drive to Mobile, and I've always thought, "Wow, this would be such an incredible area to have horses."

The girls got off the trailer, walked into their 42 acre pasture (freshly mown and about to be rolled) and were napping within the hour. I wanted to stay and just stretch out in the grass with them but I'd left Maddie in her crate in Tuscaloosa. I'm planning to stop by the farm to deworm the girls on the weekend of the 19th, when I meet my parents down in Camden for a camping trip.

In other horsey news, HRH Wiffle is already yaktastic. Now that I've got more of my head about me post-pilates certification exam, and now that they weather is better (which he loves because let me just say, he doesn't love it hot) I've vowed to get him on a regular riding schedule - at least 3-4x per week. So we kicked it off yesterday and if you think he didn't try to get jiggy/leapy/possibly bucking when we cantered, you're wrong. I had to laugh and I think he did too. He's such a neat horse. Who will, let me just say, be getting clipped. Robby doesn't ride furry horses!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Things You Have For Dinner WhenYou're Single

Judge me not, for I am human.

Sometimes I feel like a Labrador retriever bitch who's just whelped 14 puppies and, oh yeah, let me also adopt 3 orphaned cheetahs to nurse too.

After navigating Thursday, and by navigating what I mean is "Girl I cut him," I taught my two pilates classes (both Reformer and, can I just say, I thought I was particularly on last night? We got through nearly the entire repertoire and did elephant AND stomach massage in both classes and I don't always teach those even though they're both fabulous exercises) then came home eager to watch the debate.

Because I'm masochistic like that. I live for moments where I can shriek at the television and reflect on the horrors of our modern culture, where double-speak and average is lauded. And let me just say that goes for both parties. Girl I cut them.

And for that reason I sliced 4 pieces of Havarti, then followed it up with 2 bowls of yellow cake batter. That was not a good anorexia meal, but it was REALLY good.

Today? I think I'll just eat broccoli.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

1000 Beautiful Things ...

I have awakened feeling soulful. And I'm thankful for that. Because this week I've been vexed by the mounting gloom and despair which seems to grow each day as our economy and financial stability spirals toward failure.

I like to plan for worst-case scenarios, even though by nature I'm an optimist. So my contingency plan is to keep my car full of gas and, in the event of onset Depression, I'll grab my little cousin and we'll flee to the coast where we'll reconnect with our family and try to live off the land. People likely won't have money for pilates, or pr, so I'll just teach and practice it for free.

Because, really, what's money?

When I get an email from an organization like Project Lazarus, and I visit their website, I'm reminded there are many people who aren't focused on financial gains, windfalls, investments, etc. There are people who do things because it's the right thing to do, and it makes me happy. It humbles me, it inspires me, and it reminds me of a bible verse which has served as something of a guiding principle for me for many years:

Revelation 21:6 - And He said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of Life.

Selfless acts with no expectation of a return ... that's what I'm talking about. If you have it in you to give, then give it. You may not be remunerated, but you'll be freed in your heart and soul. And that's priceless.

And now we turn to Annie, who's going to bring it home for us.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Something Everyone Should Have

In a divorce, or a terrorist attack (there's not much difference, is there?), one should always grab their good kitchen tools before rapidly fleeing.

For me, that includes my really awesome kitchen knives - serving double duty for my ginsu ninja skillz ... watch me filet your heart out then thinly slice a vidalia onion - and my German garlic press.

$42 is a spend-up when it comes to a garlic press but the lady in Las Vegas who sold this to me at Sur La Table (where I really want to work because I love it so much) wasn't kidding. She was Italian and said her sons had seriously asked her to will her press to them.

What's so awesome is that you put the entire pod of garlic in the press, unpeeled, and press through, then flip the chamber up and dump the husk. It's amazing, even if you press garlic just once a year.

I always sautee garlic and onion before I make a pot of beans, which I'm doing today. Black beans served with whole grain, gluten-free, brown rice. And just to get a little crazy, we'll have steamed broccoli on the side. And by we I mean me. Even Maddie is like, "Girl I think you need to diversify!"