Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I N V E R T

My new obsession is inversion. I love hanging upside down, particularly off the Cadillac at the pilates studio, and especially when I can fully release and stretch the TFL and iliopsoas. Hip pain be gone! Adding the abdominal work (the curls) from an inverted, released position is also phenomenal: "grippy hips" get in the way of engaging the abdominals in many upright positions.

I have a decline bench at home which, when I pull it from behind the guest bed, introduces this idea somewhat effectively. I also hang from the fuzzy straps, as mentioned, and am on the precipice of ordering some gravity boots, though I'm not sure I actually can use them on my pull-up bar at home due to a space limitation between top of the bar and door frame. So, of course, I've begun monkeying with my gymnastic training rings and actually hung from them for a brief period last night with my knees flexed. Not the safest thing to do with only your Jack Russell waiting down below (to lick your face, of course, once you're completely inverted), but not to worry, I'm a trained professional and don't take unsafe risks. Plus, I totally had my iPhone down there in case I needed to call out a MayDay.

I am doing somewhat OK on my goal for December. Water has been my most successful area, with cardio and sleeping earlier running about 30% below expectation. Always room to improve but hey, acceptance is the first step to recovery, right?


Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kinderpunsch

I guess 2005 was the year I began contributing to my family's highly orchestrated Christmas celebration in my own "seat." I had the idea to make a really big batch of sangria, which was enhanced greatly by the homegrown lemons my aunt's tree produces in its semi-protected and highly-nitrous location ... the former chicken coop. Needless to say, Sangria Christmas was an instant hit. Warmed by the wood stove on my parents' enclosed porch, it was an ideal catalyst for sharing tales and fond memories. Last year I introduced Bourbon Milk Punch on Christmas Eve. But instead of hearing those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling too, MSJ, my brother's girlfriend and I were singing AC/DC over the fabulous crawfish bread she'd made. And that was only 1/2 way into one highball. And for the record, one is all we had!

This year, I'm introducing Kinderpunsch.

I had a small fete last weekend and thought I'd have a go with an adapted version. It was a big hit, and I have a little left in my refrigerator that I may warm up this weekend. I augmented to make it appropriately "adult," and did so under the auspices of being pleasantly relaxed and content, not Back In Black. I used Rhine wine (white) because a.) it was really cheap and b.) it sounded German.

I'm including the standard recipe below, and will just comment on my adaptation here. Using my conversion app on my iPhone (best.thing.ever for this child left behind), I doubled the recipe, using 3 cups apple juice and 3 cups wine. It was perfect, easy, and very, very Christmas-y without the toxic backlash.

Ingredients

    * 1 cup water
    * 2/3 cup white sugar
    * 2 pinches ground cloves
    * 1 cinnamon stick
    * 3 cups apple juice
    * 1 lemon, sliced

Directions

   1. In a 3 quart saucepan, bring water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon to boil.
   2. Stir in juice and heat through. Do not boil. Take spices out and pour over lemon slices in serving bowl. Serve warm.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Transitions


I quite enjoy the moments I'm able to bridge ambition and anxiety with action. In my experience these are the moments when we are capable of change and growth because they combine the critical component of self-motivation with a baseline of confidence which, in turn, allows us to take a risk.

Sometimes these moments, for me, can be as abstract as vacuuming the baseboards or as concrete as expressing an emotional feeling or need, but the more I practice the objective process of investing energy in the litany of items I deem important, the more I am rewarded with a sense of contentment. Whether or not the outcome meets the expectation I had when I contributed the input, there's applied learning to be recognized and honored, and I think that adds dimension to my person.

Often I see things that are beautiful and wish I could capture the moment in a photograph. And surprisingly (to me, at least) there are times when I'm selfish about those moments and choose to file the snapshot mentally. My iPhone has actually made it much easier for me to retain inspirational moments. I snapped this picture on the river the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I love the amber light of late afternoon and the slick surface of the river.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tail Mail Female


One of the most complicated challenges to an abstract right-brain like mine can be - depending on the day and how many mimosas you had the day prior - solving any sort of mechanical/functional dilemma.

And thus begins my tale of Christmas tree lights and how, at the end of an amazing decorating journey I realized nothing would remedy an ill-executed stringing gaffe except completely removing all ornaments and lights and re-stringing.

It all began with my angel tree-topper, oh she of Glenda The Witch Of The North inspiration who apparently has a dual-adapter under her form (she's versatile, it would seem), allowing her to be plugged into the regular light string and, at show time, ensuring her role as the star. What I didn't realize was that my first string of lights, the white bubble LED string, has only a female end and a male end. I strung male at the top (makes sense to me) and female at the bottom, then added another string of big beaded multi-colored LED lights, added all of my ornaments and then decided to give it a test run.

That's when I realized no amount of adapters or careful replugging would allow my female end at the bottom of the tree to plug into the wall outlet and so, at 9:00 p.m., I resolved myself to the fact that I'd have to strip and represent. It's OK though. I did a 6-foot tree this year which works perfectly on the table in front of my river-facing picture window. It's not available in pre-lighted (at least not for $20 like I paid for this version!) and while I could've been bitter about it, I chose to view it as a positive opportunity to decorate not once but twice in a single holiday season.

I am doing OK on my goal/inspiration list. Water? Check. Sleep? Halfway there. Cardio? Eh. But I did watch "Meet Me In St. Louis" last night with friends: it wasn't filmed in the 1930's (40's) but it's close enough and I also accepted an invitation to see Lady Gaga in New Orleans with some super-cool homeys on December 27.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

30 Something, Expanded

As mentioned on Monday, I am adding dimension to December in a program I call 30 over 30. What can I do in 30 minutes over 30 days to make a difference in my life? Initially I conceived it as a way to combat the New Year Resolutions that are certain to begin popping up toward the end of the month. I don't know why they bother me so much: I think it's the added pressure of agreeing to something you know you may not achieve, or may not want to achieve. I believe it's possible to integrate a new behavior by consciously practicing it for 30 days, and I think there's a sense of fun and adventure in making a pact with yourself to improve whether it's gaining a new skill or knowledge, or eradicating that which is self-destructive.

I personally am committing to 30 minutes of cardio activity each day, drinking 30% more water each day, and going to bed 30 minutes earlier each day. At a surface level, these goals are pretty self-involved. Everything I'm doing seems to be focused exclusively on my health and well-being. The older I've gotten and the more people have come to depend on me, the more I realize this is actually a responsibility not only to myself, but also to others. Affecting change and attempting to contribute to make my community, and hopefully my world, better is important to me. As I continue to observe myself and others, I am disappointed by the deflective thoughts and subsequent non-actions to which we are all privy: "I don't have enough time," "Nothing I say matters," or "I really just don't care." It's a bubble of self-absorption that must be burst. It is the "Me" mentality that has contributed so greatly to the economic peril we have experienced the past 2 years, the deplorable state of our environment, and quite possibly the ultimate demise of our species and planet.

Is there a time and place to bask in the glow of friendship and benefit from complete mental and emotional decompression? Absolutely. Life is about balance. And maybe that's where I'm finding myself and seeing patterns in others - out of balance and tipping to the ineffective side. That can be changed. Step 1 is recognizing the need. Step 2 is figuring out how.

All too often we set goals which we cannot achieve. And it's an established fact that setting achievable goals - and achieving them - will strengthen our internal mechanism to continue improving and accomplishing. Categorically speaking, I think everyone in America probably has 30 minutes a day for 30 days to do something that will improve themselves and have a positive, sustainable impact on those around them. I challenged myself to write a list of 30 ideas and thought I'd share them here. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.


  1. Review your priority list daily. Spend 30 minutes at the start of each day organizing your list of priorities and adapt behaviors that allow you to accomplish them.
  2. Breathe deeply 30 times each day (break into 10 breath sessions - 10 at 8 a.m., 10 at noon, and 10 at 5 p.m. if you want). Thanks Ethan!
  3. Do 30 push-ups per day, maintaining a perfect plank position (You can also spread these over the course of the day).
  4. Study a topic of personal interest for 30 minutes each day: It could be the Bible or other spiritual reference, world news and hot media stories, etc.
  5. Send one personal email (or post card) daily to a person who means something to you. Reference something endearing in 30 words or less. (e.g. "I saw a field of clover yesterday and thought of the time we found the 4-leaf when we were children. It made me smile and I wanted to share.")
  6. Write freestyle for 30 minutes.
  7. Read anything for 30 minutes.
  8. Acknowledge, authentically, one person at your office each day.
  9. Say something nice to yourself at least once each day.
  10. Make a $30 donation to a non-profit organization you believe in. Learn what $30 per month can do to assist others.
  11. Review your regular grocery lists and expenses and challenge yourself to reduce the weekly cost by 30%. Send 30% of that reduction to a world hunger organization. Do the same for your petroleum usage and send the savings to a conservation organization.
  12. Look at a world atlas and pinpoint/prioritize 30 countries you'd like to visit. It doesn't have to even be a country you really want to visit - just do 30 and list a reason why.
  13. Purge your hard drive by 30% over the course of a month. Retain critical data on memory sticks and external drives.
  14. Relax for 30 minutes. Do nothing. Just relax and enjoy your life.
  15. Watch a famous movie you've never seen from the 1930's.
  16. Increase the time you spend smiling and laughing by 30%. Recognize if you're grumpy or gloomy and realize you're the only person who can fix it - maybe you choose a fond memory each day, or you recollect your happiest memory each day.
  17. Say the name of the people you love out loud as you drive along.
  18. Assess and inventory your wardrobe. Could you reduce it by one garment each day? If so, could you donate the clothing to an organization in need?
  19. Volunteer with an organization for half an hour each day. Maybe you can run by and answer the telephone while a staff member takes a break or works on another project.
  20. Listen to 30 minutes of classical music each morning while you're getting ready for work, or prior to falling asleep at night.
  21. Try to understand someone else's perspective - active, objective listening - at least once each day.
  22. Figure out how many dozen cookies can be baked with 30 eggs. Bake that many dozen over the course of a month and run them by your church, your doctor's office, the post office, etc.
  23. Spend half an hour serving food at a soup kitchen. It will change your life forever.
  24. Look at the calendar year for 2010 and plan all but 30% of your time off. You'll make better choices about your travel, and enjoy your "freebies" when an unexpected opportunity presents itself.
  25. Measure the overall square footage of your home. Could you and your family exist in a living space 30% smaller? Of course you could. Figure out how, then reduce your excess in a repurposing campaign. Learn more about www.freecycle.org.
  26. Make a list of things to do/entertainment within 30 miles of your home. Keep it handy for times when you have company, or find yourself bored and in need of an option.
  27. Read a 30 under 30 list and look for common behavior threads that have made these people noteworthy.
  28. Treat someone you know who struggles or aches to a $30 pedicure.
  29. Learn to count to 30 in Spanish, French, German, and Japanese.
  30. Plot a timeline of the next 30 years, including everything you want to accomplish, then reduce it by 30%. Make this your "lifeshot" and get busy living it!

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

W O R L D A I D S D A Y


Please take a moment to recognize that today, December 1, 2009, is World AIDS Day. A significant amount of information on HIV/AIDS can be found on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. Read the page, understand the statistics, and recognize how long the fight against HIV/AIDS has been going on (nearing 30 years).

In West Alabama, we'll be recognizing World AIDS Day at this event. Please attend if you can - it really does make a difference.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Monday, November 30, 2009

30 Over 30


I've had an idea and, of course, I'm just now developing it so prepare yourself for a stream-of-conciousness December here at the old blogstead. As opposed to resolutions at the New Year, and as a way to combat holiday stress (we're supposed to enjoy this time, just in case you didn't get the memo), I thought, "I'm going to do a few things over the first 30 days of December, consistently." And because life cannot be all about work and rigidity, I've made an accommodation for December 31 when I'm'a what? get my party on.

I'm going to do 30 minutes of cardio over 30 days, drink 30% more water, and go to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal. I'm also contemplating a way to add in my 30 lb. dumb bells, but for the sake of success that may need to be a stretch goal. Those suckers are heavy.

I'll keep an updated blog for 30 days that will chronicle this goal, and am working on an "idea list" to share that may continue to inspire me and that may also inspire others. We'll evaluate at the end of the month to see how it worked. Hopefully it will be fun.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our Lips Are Sealed


This year, nearly 30 years later, I'm thankful for the Go Go's and this fantastic song and video, which Belinda Carlisle completely owns. Sorry other ladies, y'all were great backup. But if I'm going to ride around LA in an old school convertible and trespass in a water fountain, I want it to be with the one and only BC.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wrapper's Delight

As we know, there really are no shortcuts in life. There are, however, implements, tools, and systems that can make the going a heckuva lot more palatable, and on today's episode of My Reality, Starring Me, we'll examine ways to make holiday wrapping easier, creative and, dare I suggest, even fun. We begin our sojourn at the website of a brand we've all grown up loving: 3M. From Romy & Michelle's assertions of business prowess to VetRap for securing a bandage on a horse's leg, 3M also brings us Scotch tape. I personally don't love wrapping gifts, though I do love presenting very well-wrapped and beautiful gifts, and for many years I struggled on the floor of my bedroom with a classic roll of Scotch tape and a pair of scissors. Inevitably there would be a few dog hairs picked up on the tape despite my best efforts, and despite the precision exhibited by those gift wrap people at stores, my scissors would hit a snag when I tried to zip them across the roll, resulting in semi-jagged edges. Jagged is good for little pills, no so much for gift seams.

A few years back I acquired the wristband pop-up tape and life got a little better. Gone was the need to hold a piece of folded paper with my toe while I used both hands to cut tape (incidentally, like performing maintenance on one's own toenails, sitting in the floor to wrap gifts can also lead to an increased sense of Feeling Fat (tm) and let's face it, no one wants that) but still, I longed for success in the snip-zip-rip sphere. Enter the Gift Wrap Cutter which is new to me this year. It's essentially an Exacto knife, but a little more safe, and as a bonus it includes a ribbon curler on the handle. Eureka! I have also learned that it's best to wrap gifts standing, preferably on a table that's about at hip height, and fairly wide. And while we're at it, go ahead and organize your wrapping items in a container designed specifically for this purpose (or be creative with something you already have or can repurpose). It will make your life easier and you'll not be as grumpy when you're required to wrap a gift.

What's even cooler, I must admit, is this comprehensive How-To Wrap website developed by 3M. It contains a wealth of information on wrapping, and isn't limited just to holiday gifts. Already I'm eager to investigate more of the Japanese section. In years past I have wrapped gifts in plain brown shipping paper (applied learning: use hot glue to secure as tape doesn't really stick) and painted with a washed metallic paint, embellishing with ornaments or even silk flowers, and this year I'm actually crafting holiday gift bags out of fabric. Point being, there are so many cool options out there and focusing on the presentation, for some odd reason, tends to calm the anxiety many of us feel around selection of "the gift."

On a final note, I'm already cheating on my new bitch K-Mart. I have discovered Dollar Tree (again), and the one in West Mobile has a TON of good Christmas stuff - including above-mentioned tape dispenser and refills. For a Child Left Behind where math is concerned, Dollar Tree is my personal shopping salvation. The fact is I can actually count, and I can sometimes do multiplication (and hello, I have in iPhone), so I can sort of manage a budget there.

It's the little things.


Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Middle TN Pony Club Horse Trials on NBC Today Show November 23

Just thought I'd share something I saw over on The Chronicle of The Horse bulletin board. I love me some Middle TN Pony Club Horse Trials. I have competed there at least 3 times and been a few others to spectate and hang-out. Percy Warner Park is fantastic and so are the organizers. I am also fairly sure MTPC is the longest consecutively running horse trials in the U.S.

I am setting my dvr and hope you will too!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just wanted to give you some advance notice so you can program your video recorders.

The NBC Today Show segment that features Elizabeth Walters' recovery to ride in the Middle TN Horse Trials is now scheduled for Monday, Nov 23.

A film crew from the NBC News Today Show was at the Middle Tennessee Horse Trials in Nashville mid October. They came to profile a Pony Club member, Elizabeth Walters (Peytona PC) who is currently in remission from cancer.

Attending the Middle TN horse trials was one of her goals that she used to stay focused throughout 10 months of treatment at St. Jude's hospital. Elizabeth finished the horse trials in 5th place for the Junior Training
Rider division. (3 of the 12 riders in her division did not finish the cross country). Her cross country was clean, she just had some time penalties. In stadium, she just knocked one rail.

After the stadium round, her mother made a presentation to the coach who took care of her horse for the year of recovery and to thank all the Pony Club members nationwide that came to their aid.

Check out MTPC's new web site design at: www.mtn-ponyclub.org for a listing of current events.


Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Evernote

One of the things I routinely seek is a system of organization that thinks like me (McCrazy). And while it doesn't always hit the mark, I must say I was thrilled when my uber-talented webmaster tipped me off to Evernote. If you're an iPhone user (and if you're not, you should be), Evernote is the white-hot bomb, and here's why: it syncs between your phone, the web, or a desktop download.

Into this portal of organizational lusciousness one can take a snapshot of, say, a poplar leaf that inspires him, or a neat gift idea for Christmas that he happens to see in May. From there, he might add the images to a folder called "Tree Art," or "Holiday Gift Ideas," and when he circles back to the idea, the inspiration is contained neatly in a tagged folder with tags that makes sense to him.

Browsing YouTube and see instructions on how to execute your Halloween costume? Send your link directly to Evernote via a sharing icon on your desktop, or email it to your Evernote email account and organize it later. There are tons of possibilities and, best of all, it's completely free.

I took my 9 year-old nephew shopping a few weeks ago down in Mobile as he enjoys playing his Nintendo DS games and I wanted him to show me some that he liked. He is at that fun age where he needs and wants everything, and assumes you're so stupid that he can convince you of anything just by the mere power of his suggestion (e.g. We walk past a display of football interview DVDs from ESPN and he stops, and says, "Oh God, I love this movie so much," then looks at me with these big imploring eyes. I'm like, "Right except it's not so much a movie but a TV interview.")

As he showed me the games he likes (including a new Wii machine - hey, he's an opportunist) and I took pictures and tagged them to Evernote I noticed him watching me intensely. I told him what I was doing and he thought it was pretty cool. After we finished we were browsing the electronics department and he brought up the new Transformers DVD and said, "Uhm, Robby, this is the movie I was telling you about." I absentmindedly remarked, "Oh yeah, I think it was on an airplane I was on recently," and kept browsing. A few seconds passed and he said, "Do you need to take a picture of it?"

Behold, the power of suggestion.
 
Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Looking Ahead


Even though it was 75 degrees yesterday, the week prior to Thanksgiving (one of the reasons I love me some Deep South), I was looking ahead. I knew winter would arrive eventually (good morning rain-arrival and frigidity!) and when you keep the sort of calendar I keep, that can only mean one thing: accommodations for Memorial Day at Pensacola Beach.

I have really begun to look forward to this weekend out of the year since moving back to Alabama 3 years ago and having the beach in a relatively close proximity. It's not the same as my life on the coast, where I grew up. Back in those days going to the beach was an integrated part of your life and not so much a destination. My friend Toshi and I would go for the day, get our bronzilla on, then head back to the Mobz for a night of debauchery. Ahhh, fun times.

Now, however, a bit more planning is involved. With my crew of Pensacola Homeys - scattered from South Carolina to Atlanta to Tuscaloosa - we have a fantastic zen that combines more settled adult practices with reach-into-your-bag party boy antics. Since my bag is rapidly depleting and not replenishing (thank God ... I'm becoming party infertile, it's party menopause!) I have taken to a role I quite enjoy - Kitchen Bitch - and ensuring our beach tent is appropriately luxe and equipped for any party foul emergencies. This year my fellow MacGyver friend and I are scheming on how to transport and construct a Cabo-inspired open canopy deck on the beach. That plan will continue to evolve.

Step 1, however, has been secured. Condo is booked, workout plan is amped up, and my favorite part - swimsuit shopping - can commence.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quin-Whaaaa?

I have been into quinoa for a few years now, but only because I read an article that briefly mentioned it as a great protein source, easy to cook, yada yada yada. I knew it came from South America, but only now did I actually read the Wikipedia entry (essentially verifying me as an expert), and mostly because I am having a big bowl following my Wednesday Night Workout and thinking "I'm doing so good for myself. I'm having protein. I'm steaming stuff. OMG I have creamy caesar dressing in the refrigerator!"

Let the record show that life is too short for your refrigerator to not include Ken's Lite Bleu Cheese Dressing or Ken's Lite Creamy Caesar which, I'm going to admit, isn't as bold as the bleu cheese but it's appropriate on nearly everything. Looking for a way to wake up a Boca Burger or a steamed sweet potato? Arrange its marriage with bleu cheese. Is it justifiable to make your apartment smell like broccoli IF you get to eat creamy caesar? I think you know the answer to that is "Oh hell yeah."

And with that I'm off to bed to finish, hopefully, "A Confederacy of Dunces," which has been on my list for years, and which I've relished for over a month, and am anxious to add to the "did" list.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Buzzy Buzz


I have very specific standards for horsekeeping. Of paramount importance, in my opinion, is bodyclipping through the winter months if you're going to keep a horse in any amount of work. Note I emphasized that last little point because obviously horses grow winter coats for a reason - protection from the elements - but horses in their natural state and horses in domestication and performance are almost two different animals. What it comes down to, basically, is a critical physiological function: the ability to regulate body temperature. Horses, like humans, sweat as a primary means of maintaining their temps. Unlike humans, however, they're also highly susceptible to anhidrosis, or a reduction/complete shutdown of the cooling system. Anhidrosis exists in varying degrees but, as someone who has had a horse shut down and thereby catapulted me into the world of anhidrosis management, I do everything I can to make it easy for the surface of their skin to evaporate sweat easily. And what that comes down to is clipping. After all, we don't go for a jog in a full-length mink jacket, do we? (Mariah Carey not included.)


With that said, this season has been a slight comedy of errors where my clippers are concerned. Since I clip for hire (and will travel, just fyi!), I have 4 different pairs of body clippers. My clippers of choice are my Double K's, pictured here. The motor is in the case, and the gear cable drives the blades which greatly reduces friction or vibration from clipper to horse's skin. They take both Andis and Oster snap on blades, and run very quiet. The final bonus is that, unlike my big Osters or even my big Andis, the independent motor excludes the heavy fan which blows hair all over the place, meaning I can listen to my iPod if I'm alone and leave the barn relatively devoid of horse hair in my teeth and eyes. Last weekend the hinge on the Double K's broke while clipping Jane's horse Tenby (pictured), both of my big Oster clippers are jacked and need doctoring, and my big Andis are 4 hours away. I had to finish Tenby's body from about where Jane's leg is in this picture all the way up to his poll (by his ears for the non-horsey folks who are still reading this ... please wipe drool and blink to avoid red eyes) with my A5 clippers. This is akin to mowing your lawn with a pair of scissors.

Needless to say, part for Double K was ordered first thing yesterday morning, and as soon as my hands get around the rest of my clippers they're all going to the hospital for servicing, and my blades are going into an inventory system. Adding to my list of "Life is Too Short For ..." is "limited options whilst clipping," and thusly I am committed to regaining my vast expanse of high-performing tools. It's part of the course if we're going to have high performance horses, right?

p.s. Carol Ann, if you're reading this, holler if you want me to come buzz the ponies!

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Evidence

10 at initial count but I know there must be stragglers tucked away in
crevices and corners. Actually, now that I think about it I can
immediately account for 3 more. Sickness, as evidenced by wax!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lips Like Sugar


They say ask 1000 people and you'll get 1000 answers. I think that's how the old saying goes. Or maybe I just made it up. Maybe what I meant was "Try 1000 lip balms and you'll form 1000 opinions." That's probably more indicative of one of my many eccentricities - you know, those little things that feed my alter-superhero ego Captain Crazy.

Lately I have acquired entirely too many tubes of lip balm because I never seem to be able to find it when I need it, so I always buy more. I don't like things in my pockets, and so when I come in I either place said lip balm in my desk drawer (office) or in a clay pot on the bar (home), then neglect transporting when I leave because, again, hate things in pockets. If you ever need lip balm, by the way, those locations are gold mines.

My favorite, and the one I can be most committed to (18% of the time), is from Aveda. At $8.50 a tube you might think "Blaspheme!" but I have to tell you, it throws Mario Badescu under the bus, and says "Chap this, 'ho" to regular old Chapstick.  



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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

OnTyte


From the "Interesting Products I Should Try" file comes OnTyte, a magnetic stirrup system that works with a special boot sole to keep your foot connected to the stirrup. Before I go any farther, I will say that your foot isn't glued in, nor is it a magnet akin to the Wile E. Coyote version from "Roadrunner," that would lift you through the Grand Canyon. Quite simply, the connection breaks as soon as the angle is challenged.

Nothing says panic like losing a stirrup at a critical moment, does it big mound at Kentucky? As if jumping something at the top and galloping off of you weren't intimidating enough, doing it with only one stirrup because I was riding a bottle rocket just made it even more awesome and panicky. I think the mental confidence that comes from being secure does a lot to promote balance and stability, and as someone also invested in body mechanics I definitely think the old standard cry from the rail bird coach to "Sink into your heels," is a misdirection. Dorsiflexion decreases the angle of the ankle and actually lifts the toe, making it more difficult to keep the foot in the stirrup. Pressing through the ball of the foot and using the calf to secure the connection - while focusing on the position of YOUR PELVIS - is the name of the upright game.

OnTyte is USEF approved for show-jumping and eventing. I'm excited about giving them a try. Who cares if I'm 40 when it happens ... one day I'm going to have a show-jumping picture with my leg in a secure position and not mimicking Superman!

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Stand Back

Holy Solid Gold Dancers, y'all.

Sometimes when I am driving and the thumpa thumpa of my Sirius starts to wear me out, I flick open my vault of CD's and have a little roadway jam session. If you ever see a tiny little black go-cart Honda Fit with a guy who looks like Moby pushing the limits of a 4-cylinder engine AT 75 MPH and rockin' his singing face, you will understand the theater that happens inside my little Banzai ... you really can do just about anything in those cars.

Last night I kicked in my Stevie Nicks "Timespace" greatest hits CD and caught a little rockstar with "Stand Back." I woke up singing it this morning and did a little YouTube'ing and found this pearl. I'm probably going to get smacked for saying this, but I'm going to say it anyway because that's the Robby way: I love me some 3-pack-a-day, Klonipin poppin' cocaine snortin' Stevie Nicks. Not that I don't love me some clean and sober Stevie too - obviously that's a much better, desired condition. But the powder keg power of the untamed version exposes a high level of creative magic.

I know I'm not alone in this discovery, but I do think there comes a point in life where the urge and need to seek is replaced with a desire to observe and reflect. I have to say it's a good place to be.



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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sad


One of my biggest fears is being mauled by an animal. I find this story of Canadian folk singer Taylor Mitchell's death by coyote attack very gruesome and equally as sad. I have dear friends in Canada who are also members of the folk music scene and appreciate the connection to "the thing" that inspires them creatively. 

Years ago I recall the coverage of the growing coyote population and migration into North America and an expert saying the predatorial instincts of the animals would continue to adapt so as to take advantage of available food sources. As shocking as the death of a human by coyote attack is, I think it's also telling considering coyote, as a general rule, are sole hunters who seldom hunt as a pack and only do to attack large prey.

Clearly there is a habitat imbalance, and it goes without saying that the death of a human should serve as a representative beacon of its restoration.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Smarty Pants

Around the office, we routinely make reference to a mysterious co-worker named Lynda. She's a demi-goddess when it comes to quirky little software how-to's you just cannot seem to recall, or else have never learned. She's available 24/7, and we won't even talk about how cheap she is. Hey, if she wants to price herself at less than $300 per year that's her business. I will gladly pay!

I love learning new things, and yesterday Lynda took me on a little trip through Data Merge in Adobe InDesign CS3 which saved me hand-typing a number sequence on 145 documents. If you're into efficiency, Lynda farms herself out at a pretty large scale. I highly endorse!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Inspiration

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. - Buddha

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vitamin C Day


So I have been the MacDaddy of sickly since returning from England oh, six weeks ago. I love autumn, of course, but it also brings with it seasonal allergies. If I maintain my autumn love-interest metaphor, I'd say this is the part where you realize you have picked up an STD. Thanks a lot, lover!

Fortunately I have an OCD with citrus-flavored chewable tablets (first documented by climbing up the cabinets to the top of the refrigerator to eat all of the Flintstones vitamins when I was like 4; later repeated at 35 at my place of employment), and have been taking 500 mg of vitamin C each day for the past month, which appears to be the actual effective amount per this WebMD article. Has it made a significant difference? From a sinus perspective, no. But I am sleeping better and who am I kidding? I get to chew on tablets. What else could a guy ask for?

If you think I didn't love this song years ago, think again. The video is equally as fetch. I thought Vitamin C was going places, and then she did that horrible, blood-letting-from-ears song about graduation and I, the benevolent, the observer, the pacifist ... I severed the neck of a wild rooster and drew a blood circle in the sand, beneath a full moon, then threw salt over my shoulder as I walked away from Vitamin C the singer, forever. This, readers, is what brought her burgeoning career to a screeching halt. There are bad songs and there are bad decisions and herney, where I come from, two wrongs don't make a right!





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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Retro Harvest Maddie


I try to make it a practice to let sleeping dogs lie, unless of course it involves infidelity or money you owe me in which case, wake your ass up sucka, cuz we gotz to talk.

For this reason alone, I have never gotten into dressing Maddie up in dog clothes. And I sometimes feel inferior and dead-beat for this, especially on Christmas morning when my dog-niece Ping has on her super cute Christmas sweater(s).

Maddie has two items of apparel: her Christmas-motif fleece which was acquired when she had to wait in the car on a cold post-Thanksgiving day in Memphis while I did some pilates observation and exercise (there was a pet boutique next door to the studio) and her Camilla Parker-Bowles Barbour jacket which her Aunt Shannon talked me into buying at a chi-chi boutique in Santa Fe after too many margaritas.

Tomorrow night we're going to Marcia's riverside Halloween pet party, and I thought about a costume for Maddie because, let's face it, if I'm going to put your poopie in a bag and throw it away, you can suck it up and be a daisy costume 3 hours, but I got sucked into more functional apparel last night in the pet section of my local WM. I can't even type the full name because it makes me get all Betty Butterfield. But it is affordable, and that's just how it is.

Maddie is much more Sporty Spice than she is Pink Princess so we avoided the LuLu collection altogether. We opted for 2 sweaters, both of which are based on a brown and orange palette, so she's going as either Retro Harvest Maddie (pictured) or Varsity Marcia Brady Maddie. Stay tuned to see what she decides!

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Nasal Douche

Don't think I won't get a Neti Pot. I so will. I'm so going to. AND I'm going to use it. Thanks Carli for the tip.

I might be allergic to Alabama, but I refuse to spend the next six months going from one sinusitis attack to another. I didn't do anything to deserve a relapse just 4 weeks after round 1. I was just hanging out, getting my game day plan on, working a little, working out a little, and BAM! there it was - itchy throat and puketastic feeling. I have come to know you so well and yet I dislike you more and more each time, sinusitis. Go away. Leave forever.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

B A T T Y H E A D



I love me some Janet (aka "Juanita"). We have been friends for about 6 years or so, and we always have a ton of fun when we're together. Typical of "horse folks" the range of emotions we share in friendship is extreme: super highs and dreadful lows. But also typical of horse folks is the ability to pull yourself up by the boot straps, climb back on, and get goin'.

She sent this email today and I thought I'd share it too. Who doesn't love a.) Virginia b.) handmade jewelry on the cheap and c.) sharing with the world even in times of turmoil?

This is my cousin's site.  She lives in VA with her husband and 4 little girls.  Her husband Chris lost his job almost a year ago.  In their efforts to make things work,  they have established this site and are making handmade jewelry and "original artwork" by the girls.  So typical of them, they donate a percentage to charity.  The jewelry is really nice, I could show you the pieces I have.  Anyway, I am just trying to help them however I can.  Thanks for listening. :)  www.battyhead.com

Love,
Janet



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Monday, October 12, 2009

Caterpillar In Drag

I spent 24 fantastic hours with my family camping at Roland Cooper State Park in Camden, Alabama, over the weekend. In case you've never been to Camden, or the Alabama River near Historic Gee's Bend, I can only describe it as unbridled relaxation, with a soft note of magic vibrating below the surface.

We were visited both days by this really odd caterpillar, which I loved because I felt like it was wearing couture Givenchy. My dad lent his hand as a runway. I have no idea how it will emerge from its chrysalis, but I like to think it will be singing a melody about freedom and individuality.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Baggu II

It should come as no surprise that I am one of those weird people who has and uses reusable grocery bags. People who don't like that can suck it. That goes mostly to the people who work at my local grocery store and look at me like an alien from another planet (that actually happens a lot around here) when I use them EVEN THOUGH THEY SEE ME AT LEAST ONCE EACH WEEK. I have now taken to obnoxious chastising and recognition of the obvious. "Yes, just like last week, those are still my reusable bags ... the same ones I've had for 3 years, and did you know how much petroleum is used to make plastic bags - the same ones you insist on filling with exactly 1 item?" to which I usually get vacant stares of indifference.

For a long time I had 3 Baggu bags - Red, Black, Khaki. Last Thursday we lost Black during a grocery bagging incident in which cashier with creepy weird face and inappropriate questions ("Where do you work?" isn't always the best opener) got me sidetracked so I couldn't manage bagger boy who clearly had questions with what to do with the unused bag. It got left behind. I went back to claim it the next day but of course dealt with "Not now I'm busy," customer service desk and so I came home and I took action. I had to vindicate the loss of Black Bag so I bought 6 more bags from Baggu.

I also like to troll the discount bins at Target and had purchased $1 mesh laundry bags a year or so ago, and which of course I hadn't used because who uses those? But what they ARE fantastic for is produce, as well as storing my other Baggus in my car, when not in use. And so I take a stronger, more colorful stand against the use of plastic grocery bags and, in doing so, renew my commitment to bitch slap the grocery store people for their apathy. You may have claimed Black Baggu in your efforts to emerge as the victor, but you just try to take Poppy. Just try.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Sun Kissed Sleep

If you think I won't go to Bermuda, you're wrong. Not that I'm planning to anytime soon of course, but ever since I elevated my bed on these bed risers (for storage purposes, of course, and it's just been two nights and let's be honest, who might be teetering on the brink of exhaustion?), I have slept a regal sleep, reminiscent of times spent in the Caribbean, even though Bermuda is in the Atlantic, and I think that's why I should go there - to see if the sleep is the same.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Madame X



My friend Jennifer and I somehow discovered last night that we both remembered this song from the 80's. I remembered the song very well as it was really big at my first job - Camelot Music HEY! - in 1987, but I'd never seen the video. Feast on this gem of the 80's, overloaded with imagery and literal interpretations. I think my favorite part is the champagne coming up out of the desert and that raggedy-ass cat running out from beneath the car.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Take II

"Night Portrait" setting on camera; significantly better light. Taken about 6:35 a.m. today.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sweet Sweet Sweet Potatoes

I love the courtship that comes with seasonal change. It reminds me of seeing someone for the first time and thinking, "I'd like to know more, see more, experience more." I find autumn to be the most expert when it comes to flirting. It knows exactly when to laugh, wink, and pause so that the only thing you think while in its presence is when you'll make your next date, where it will be, and what you will do.
Lately I've been consumed by sweet potato soup and the myriad ways it can be presented and served. I think it's the perfect embellishment to autumn: a vintage cashmere scarf loosely knotted and dripping with charm.

I found this recipe, of all places, on the aluminum foil sealant of a big tub of Dannon yogurt, and am going to make for the weekend.

2 tbsp. canola oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 qt. chicken broth (and of course I'm using vegetable)
1 3/4 cup Dannon All Natural Plain Yogurt
2 tbsp. chopped parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1. In a large soup pot heat oil. Add onions and cumin and saute 3-4 minutes. Add potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer soup 20-25 minutes.
2. Puree soup with 1 1/2 cup yogurt and parsley or cilantro.

Serve each portion of soup with a dollop of remaining yogurt and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Mother Plant

The weekend has come and gone (Roll Tide!), and while it was fun at an epic level and included special guest appearances from some of my favorite people, I am quite content to look to this week, in which I am eager to accomplish much.

I love reading Heidi Swanson's blog and have it marked in my Google Reader. She presents these really amazing recipes, managing to balance both simple and decadent, and that makes me want to cook!

I think I will try the roasted corn pudding in acorn squash this weekend for a special visiting guest, and embellish with other celebratory notes: birthdays don't happen ever day do they?

Earlier this summer my amazing purple petunias gave up the ghost, victims of our record-high June heat wave. I pulled up their withered remains and left the coconut fiber hanging pots in place, anticipating the addition of another summer annual. The reemergence of the petunias a month or so later was fascinating, as the leaves had a succulent quality, and I decided to see what would transpire in this incarnation. A much different appearance altogether, they bloom in the day and tend to close at night. I'm not sure how long they will last, but I'm willing to let them go on as long as they choose.  

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Could Burn With The Splendor Of The Brightest Fire

I played around with the night setting on my camera yesterday and captured this amazing sunrise outside my door. I don't know what it is about fire in the sky - whether it's dawn or dusk - that reduces me to purely unfiltered awe and wonder, but I'm grateful to have such an intense reaction to remind me I'm alive.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Let There Be Light

This image of what I believe to be a coal elevator, taken yesterday morning as I walked my dog along the river trail, doesn't look the way I actually saw it. The humidity that crowded the air and brought sweat to the surface much sooner than usual met with low lying clouds of deep charcoal not in a suggestion, but a mandate, of rain and for a brief moment I thought the cover would choke out morning all together.

Thankfully this wasn't the case. And initially the light behind the elevator was the faintest shade of lavender and vowed to me that its power was unheeded and it would, indeed, make its regularly scheduled appearance. I live for silver linings and tend to root for underdogs, so felt inspired to capture the moment as a reminder.

This is where frustration found me. My camera, a replacement for the one which I lost in Spain last summer, has many bells and whistles apparently: none of which I've summoned to function in their intended purpose. In fact, the arrival of a new battery yesterday, at first, just disappointed me that the HD feature was such an incubus that a battery wouldn't even last a year.

Another silver lining emerged, however, upon its installation: the emergence of a menu, and the delivery of a tutorial. Far from Avedon, I at least have a better grasp of features and am eager to seek new subjects and opportunities.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Playlist


Since I mentioned it on a recent status, I thought I'd share the new playlist that is inspiring my cardio.

1. "Star," Floorphilla & Majuri: T.M. EvolutionEb Remix
2. "Sexy Bitch," David Guetta featuring Akon
3. "I Will Be Here," Tiesto and Sneaky Sound System
4. "Evacuate the Dancefloor," Cascada: Lockout Remix
5. "Fine Print," Nadia Ali: tyDi Remix
6. "Spotlight," Jennifer Hudson (designed as a mid-list slow-down)
7. "My Love," Airscape featuring Jes: Johan Gielen Remix
8. "Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer)," Freemasons featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Club Mix
9. "Your Lovin' Arms," Moor featuring Karen Overton: Club Mix
10. "Bruised Water," Chicane: Chicane Rework Mix

Get you some!


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Friday, September 18, 2009

Port de Bras II

Today is a day I've been anticipating for many months. I am off to Germantown for the final component of my Cadillac-Chair-Barrels (what's known in pilates as "CCB") training at Ballet Memphis. The CCB really brings the entire scope of the pilates method to a comprehensive level: while I am certified on the matwork and reformer, I feel, as an instructor, that my continued pursuit of the appartus training has only enhanced my teaching ability there.

For a long time the CCB training was offered as one educational module, and would span 5 weekends over the course of 2 months. With at least 55 hours of actual classroom and practical training, and a large subset of observation, physical review and practice teaching hours (and six different educational manuals), it was understandably off-putting for someone who already has a full-time job. Thankfully the program was restructured and each dimension separated into its own module, allowing the training to be taken in phases. It's the only way I've been able to tackle it, and I love the group with whom I train because it's smaller, more intimate, and the quality of the education and training is stellar.


Since March of 2007, when I began regularly visiting the studio in Alabama (after dabbling in pilates both at home and at a studio when I lived in Little Rock), I have seen a significant change in my body and my outlook on life. I move much more freely, I have a lot more baseline stamina and stability, and I'm just a heck of a lot happier. I highly encourage everyone I meet to "have a go" with pilates. Tackle it with an open mind and don't set too many expectations for unrealistic, immediate aesthetic results. Instead, give yourself a few months just to get to know the work and very quickly you'll enjoy results as a byproduct of the effort.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Core (Re)Buff

My friend Denny had a stallion called Core Buff back in the day, and I was reminded of him when I read this very detailed, very accurate article about "the core." Denny is a very colorful life commentator, who has been a school principal and international equestrian - as well as other diverse occupations - for many years.

I constantly seek to develop the spinal erectors and abdominal wall since my pelvis has an anterior tilt: this puts the lumbar spine into extension, and almost always forces the thoracic spine into kyphosis. And who wants that? Have a read and find someone who can help you execute the three exercises mentioned. The planks, specifically, are fantastic as stabilized sequencing of the spine will help build the multifidus and spinal erectors.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bring On The POM

Over the past 10 years I have begun to associate the onset of autumn not with foliage change, but with the appearance of pomegranate at the grocery.

I sucked it up last night and went grocery shopping because sadly, there's only so much you can do with extra virgin olive oil and a can of Eagle Brand condensed milk. After returning from my trip to England last week I was immediately besieged by seasonal allergies and have only begun to feel truly better in the past 48 hours. And so it is with great applaud that I welcome the transition from vacation-mode-dietary-indulgence-meets-me-sick-need-carbs and, for me, that means as much fresh fruit and vegetables as I can acquire and consume. Because I have the survival skills of a cockroach, that is essentially my approach to any food group, but I firmly believe we have choices to make each day and it's just as easy to make a good choice as it is a bad one.

I should also note the pomegranate I bought last night looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree pomegranate, but I'm off to Memphis this weekend to complete my STOTT PILATES Barrels training and thankfully that means a trip to Whole Foods. Regardless, I like to peel them and put the arils in a bowl, then keep in the fridge for use in oatmeal, salads, or just as a stand-alone snack. The health benefits are significant (lots of antioxidants) so, really, it's a win-win.

Bring on the fall, y'all!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

I have been AWOL since returning from England on Monday. That's mostly due to symptoms of a sinus infection beginning Tuesday afternoon. 'Tis the season, I'm afraid, and am sure the extreme ranges of climate and environment over the course of a week only added to the culminating reaction. I think I'm off to the Doc-In-Box for a shot of Rocephin.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

And ...

He won!

Carousel Quest

In the ring!

Phillip

No rails but 4 time penalties.

Reasons Why I Love AS

She is amazing ringside! I love her. I am going to find her a man
worthy of her significant worthiness. If that doesn't work, we are
getting hitched!

Zara

This is surreal!

Showjumping

I am watching the showjumping at Burghley on a front row seat. It is
like being in a dream. I will never forget this amazing trip and am
already looking ahead to Badminton.

I had a great visit with Allison this morning - so lovely and so
inspiring - and our "crew" has been spectacular. I will miss England
very much.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Burghley in Action

Not sure if you can see Kyle Carter and Madison Park over this "let
up" fence. Kyle just fell a few fences later but all is well;
eliminated anyway. Course eating lots of lunches ... amazing to watch!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Things I Never Want To Jump

A corner on course which makes me hyperventilate. I am not even sure
with 100K on the other side I could attempt it. Dressage was good to
watch though it was REALLY blustery. I was thrilled Allison did so
well and am really excited to watch tomorrow. I have run into a few
folks I know from the States and that has been great. The trade fair
is ridiculous; I don't even know where to begin! We have lots to do
tomorrow, and I am glad we walked today. So neat to get close to the
jumps.

Life at Burghley

Allie and I have connected. Life is complete! We are about to watch
Allison's dressage and are super excited for her.

It is amazing weather but really windy. Apparently it's the aftermath
of a hurricane. We will be walking the course a little later. We miss
our Kentucky regulars but hope we have opened a door for Badminton in
May, 2010.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Cotswolds

We are en route to Burghley from Bath and have just driven through
Gloucestershire. It is positively stunning in the Cotswolds and,
surprise of surprises, the air reeks of cow manure! Things they don't
tell you on websites! Oh well, one thing is certain, cow manure smells
the same in England as it does in Alabama. We had dinner last night at
a pub out in the country called The George Inn. It has been licensed
since 1397. Fantastic food and the bar wench was gorgeous. I attempted
playing model scout. Pfeff, I have found your next It Girl. Holla!

I am also dressed in my "country attire" and am making quite a scene
here at the roadside car stop. I think they're mistaking me for Guy
Ritchie but Rob assures me it's because I am transparently American.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Inside The Abbey

We spent some time inside the abbey today. The first king of England
was crowned on the site in 100 A.D. (or thereabouts). It was really
grand and special. A chaplain offered 3 prayers which I greatly
appreciated. Feeling small and insignificant can be a good thing, when
the scale is accurate.

Euro Cheating

I feel like I am Euro Cheating on so many people; primarily my Travel
Homeys and Shann-a-na-na-na. I am sorry. It's not you. It's me. I
cannot look at my Burghley tickets without seeing your face, hearing
your laugh, imagining your observations of how cold it is ... Even
though I have never had an affair I can only imagine this is what it
feels like. For this I shall lay alms on the grassy parking area.