Monday, November 22, 2010

Lemon Rice

As a matter of fact, I have made this more than once. Because I've actually made it twice, and because I'm very ADHD (less H, more D), that qualifies it as an old family favorite. Can you substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth? You know you can. 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I say classy-up your rice to show everyone how much you really care. Nothing says "Oh girl I care," like freshly grated lemon zest. It's aces, as far as I'm concerned!

LEMON RICE

Ingredients
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cajun Chef Cayenne Pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup Falcon medium grain rice
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or parsley)
2 tablespoons butter

Steps
Heat the broth, salt, black pepper, cayenne and garlic in a heavy saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest. Let stand, covered, for five minutes. Add the dill and butter and gently stir to mix. Serve warm. Serves 4 to 6.


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 17, 2010

The Rules (Of The Road)

 A very funny thing happened a few weeks back. I was navigating my typical morning work route - a route I've traveled over 4 years now - and was the first vehicle in the left lane of a double-lane right merge intersection (y'all know the one: Rice Mine Road Extension turning right onto Highway 82, it's in front of Buddy's). Both lanes are directed by a green arrow. The lane on the right has a yield sign. The lane on the left is turn-on-arrow only. I know this because there's a sign at least 4 feet high and 4 feet wide that says "Right On Arrow Only."

Because I drive a go-cart, I am quite keen on defensive driving: one miscalculated error and suddenly I'm the albacore in the can. So on this morning, I was sitting there waiting for the light to turn green, thinking the things I normally think ("I wonder how pole dancing would work for the next benefit I organize?" "Who do I have to sleep with to get a little liposuction?" "Did I put on deodorant today?") when suddenly I was jarred to reality by a blaring horn. Initially I thought the light had changed and I was late in my reaction but something told me that wasn't possible, since I'd actually just arrived at the signal (hence my first position in line).

So I looked in my rear view mirror to see a small, white-haired woman in a mid-size sedan. She was flailing her arms at me and mouthing the word "Go!" and then pushing the back of her hand toward the right, as if I were swine and she was sending me to the chute. I was flummoxed. I looked to the left, and certainly the oncoming traffic was not as heavy as it had been, but I am a rule follower, and I was in a very clearly marked lane. I am not a.) risking my life b.) risking someone else's life or c.) getting a ticket because Louise is late for bridge. And because I'm a gentleman who has a high degree of respect for matronly women, I politely pointed to the sign and shook my head no.

Well honey, let me just tell you, apparently that was the invitation she needed to tap into her rage. Never have I seen a Q-Tip so animated, so opinionated, so "There's NO ONE COMING!" Goodbye Louise the bridge player, hello Ellen Burstyn diet-pill addict in "Requiem For A Dream." I wasn't looking to go head-up with anyone that morning, so resisted the urge to get out of my car, walk back to her, thump her upside her roller set and say, "Yo, chill out Louise!" Instead, I obeyed the traffic signal, got onto the highway, merged into the right lane, waited for her head-shakin' distraught self to come up beside me and, because I'm nearly 40, gave her the finger with a clearly mouthed "Fuck You" for effect. Mature? No. Impactive? Yes. Suddenly she got all Miss Tuscaloosa "Well I never ..." as she drove along.

I immediately thought of following her to her destination, calmly inquiring as to her urgent need to progress through traffic, and caution her on aggressive antics since technically she could get a shiv for that, but decided to leave it alone. There is a moral to this story, however. A thorough understanding and review of the rules of the road is probably always important. I do believe re-testing for driver licenses is a good thing, because we only retain so much information and knowledge. I grew up with skilled drivers for parents, who placed emphasis on knowing the rules of the road, and also took driver's education in high school so, for a long time, I was very capable of reciting rules and how they applied to certain scenarios, and how I practiced them as a driver. Lately, however, I've been a bit foggy on a few - probably the result of the sorostitutes I endure daily because in their universe, driving is more freestyle - so I've dug around and unearthed the official Alabama Driver License Manual and am giving it a thorough review.

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 16, 2010

Mango Tango



Mangos. You need them. And here's why.

A few months back my friend C Diddy and I got our shopping on one Saturday. While our primary goal was to hit up Urban Outfitters, I also had a Bed Bath & Beyond trick up my sleeve. Reason? At that point, it was actually an olive pitter, because of course life is too short to not have one, and all you ever have to do to realize this is attempt to make olive tapenade with just your paring knife and a mild hangover. However, upon entering the kitchen kingdom and seeing the hand appliance Wall O'Plenty, I knew my life would not be complete until I also had an Oxo Good Grips Mango Splitter. In fact, I gasped and said, "Clayton, I think I would eat more mangoes if I had this mango splitter." 

In the summer of Aught 5, I was visiting my family in Mobile (Wilmer, to be precise) from Arkansas. I was freshly single, maybe still a little stunned, and my aunt and I decided on a random Saturday afternoon to utilize the mangoes I'd brought with me from my kitchen, since they'd have otherwise rotted by the time I returned from the trip. We opted for mango margaritas. The first batch was so amazing - she, myself, my mom and my sister unanimously agreed - that we jumped in her car and ran up to the Wilmer produce stand hellbent on finding more for pitcher 2. We did. They were equally as memorable. In fact, it's those moments I always remember first about family and friends: random, unplanned, spontaneous occurrences that engage us at our root level and serve no purpose other than a framework for love, respect and admiration. We all need to feel those moments more. And speaking of roots, mangoes grow deep in ours. My grandmother was a native of St. Cloud, Florida, which is near Kissimmee (which she pronounced "Ku-sih-ma,") and her love for mangoes was demonstrated by her discerning standards for selecting them. She was with us on the afternoon we decided to mix their magic with tequila and Triple Sec.

In the same vein, one of my best friends who spontaneously appeared in my life a little over 3 years ago informed me he was bringing mango margaritas to an outside event in his hometown of Atlanta a few summers back. I knew from experience that was an arduous task (there's a reason why mangoes are so good - the effort of peeling them can be rather daunting). And so when I showed up at his house to help, I wasn't surprised to find his kitchen an orange mushy mess, and his forehead beading with sweat and his face full of Mango Regret. The margaritas? Stellar, of course. I won't ever forget that day either. After 3 I challenged a complete stranger to an Indian Leg Wrestling match in Piedmont Park. Fueled by my special ingredient, it was short work.

I share with another aunt a gift/curse as a Zodiac Cancer/Leo + Chinese Year Pig. I represent the Cancer Pigs. My mother discovered this for us just a few months ago, actually. Earlier this year we were having a mutual preening (read "group therapy") conversation and I said, "You know, I'm just always seeking a better system." She wholeheartedly agreed. As it turns out, we are both prone to invest in appliances and tools that make a job more efficient and easy. My mother uses the same sad little potato peeler she has had for 45 years, despite the fact I've bought her several others over the years. That's what makes the world go around, of course. But if you're prone to avoid mango consumption because you're intimidated or put-off by peeling them, I highly encourage adding the Oxo Good Grips Mango Splitter to your kitchen arsenal.

And if you do, I hope the resulting stories are as rich in love and memory as the fruit is antioxidants. 


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 15, 2010

The Cloud

For me there are 2 things: documents and more documents or, as I like to call it, Shit I Have To File. In life, we all have crosses to bear and I must say apparently I've done something really wrong in previous existences because all I want is everything neat and organized (and preferably out-of-sight). You'd think with access to a relatively bright intern I'd be able to accomplish this but all I tend to get are vacant stares, gum-smacking, "How do you want me to do it?" questions, and general push-back. This is the problem with Millenials, folks. Love them like whoa for their fierce confidence and sense of self, disappointed in their inability to self-start. I have faith, of course, that one day this too shall pass and we'll evolve to a place where it's easy to place information and, more important, access it. As such, I've been increasing my use of Google Documents over the past year or so and I must say I've been fairly pleased. This is all at a personal level, of course, but it is my hope that eventually I will also have a tag-able/shareable/venerable system that a.) I don't have to deal with and b.) if I do have to deal with it it's easy and makes sense.

In other news, my porch spinach continues to waffle on the "Girl I'm just not sure I can make it vs. I'm A Little Engine Who Can!" fence. I am holding it accountable for surviving but not entirely confident success is our destiny. I hope it is, though. I need more rich in iron and anti-oxidant food sources in my life!


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, October 06, 2010

Designer Barn



When people ask me, "Did you grow up in a barn?" I have to answer honestly: yes. For the most part, the only place I ever wanted to live was the hayloft. As a youngster we actually outfitted the hayloft at our barn into the world's most awesome pigeon and feral cat-infested penthouse known to lower Alabama. I am pretty sure my friends and I slept there every free night we could. Fast-forward to 2005, when I had a big life shift, and suddenly had the opportunity to move into the barn at my friend's place. I lived there exactly one year, and I have to say it was quite possibly the best year of my life. Not only was my landlord totally bangin', we were right around the corner from our equally bangin' friend and her farm, and just 2 miles from a really lovely equestrian park on the Arkansas River. Life, that year, was about 2 things: riding our horses and drinking wine in the evenings on someone's front porch.

As you can see, it was a pretty swanky place, and I do count my blessings. I loved being able to look into the front paddock and see my horse (that's Rhodes, by the way), and Maddie was able to fulfill her instincts to hunt (fill in the blank ... hunting is what she does!) and sit in my lap while I drove the tractor. She loves tractor rides.

My friend Holly has an amazing company and vision and I love looking at her website and imagining what I'd build if I were so inclined and in a position to return to a life with horses. I have to say, the longer I've gone out of the tack, the more objective I've become where that life/lifestyle is concerned. A life with horses and on a farm is fairly binding, but it's incredibly fulfilling. You tend to have lots of friends who don't hold muck on your boots or dirt under your fingernails against you, and though you might think a one-topic ongoing dialogue (horses: how my ride went, how your ride went) could get flat, it's surprisingly complex and thusly stays pretty fresh.

There is a big piece of me that would like to recreate this life. Fortunately, I've lived long enough and had enough other experiences to know what I do/don't want, and how to establish a home that has more balance and allows me to integrate the many facets and pursuits that make me tick. I'm not sure when that will happen, but it's really fun to think about.


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, September 24, 2010

Horned Toad

Mess with me and I will squirt blood from my eyes.

I hear MSJ shrieking as I type. Her irrational fear of lizards is the result of me tormenting her as children with the anoles that are so abundant in these here parts. I was a geeky kid and loved to read the encyclopaedia and any other literature I could access that referenced animals. I wanted to be a veterinarian and suppose that probably is one of those "missed calling" things I'll have to index into my life but let me just tell you, when this reptile went scampering across the sidewalk between the holly bushes on Sunday my first thought was "Not a chipmunk, probably not a Gremlin, but damn sure ain't from around here!" On Monday I got a close-up view of what I think to be a horned toad someone has apparently released and that is surviving quite well outside. In fact, this image was shot Tuesday at lunch: the lizard was stalking a butterfly. So nature-y.

Envisioning my own little private "Jurassic Park," I shared this information with the maintenance staff who said they'd been trying to trap the lizard for over a month, and are increasing their efforts as impending cooler weather will certainly not bode well for it, so hopefully it will end well. A note to the asshole who released the lizard: take responsibility for your actions. DO NOT ACQUIRE PETS FOR WHICH YOU CANNOT CARE but, if you find yourself at a precipice, do the right thing by the animal and find it an appropriate home. 

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, September 20, 2010

Watch List

Holy One Month Behind on the blog, Batman. This is entirely unacceptable. Life has been a whirlwind as of late but the good news is it has stilled and that is now the state in which I anticipate it shall stay, at least until the holidays. I have spent the better part of September traveling. Labor Day weekend afforded me the opportunity to visit my family in Mobile, and to take an adjunct drive to New Orleans for a few days. I barely had time to sleep before departing for Toronto less than a week later where I spent a full week completing my Level II (Advanced) STOTT PILATES training and hanging out with friends from both Colorado and Canada. It was a very good time and just what the doctor ordered.

If I could change anything about it, it would be this. Yes, for whatever reason I AM (I know this because a kind airline employee confirmed it in Salt Lake City this spring) on a watch list. And while my carry-on baggage often contains super suspicious items like Sea Salt Body Scrub from Lush, I hardly think I should be judged so routinely because I carry a common name. I was once held in US Customs for nearly an hour only to have an agent finally ask me, "Did you ever live in Ohio?" I said, "No." He said, "OK, you're through." Really? God I feel so much safer now.

Anyhoodle, I am stoked to be home for awhile so I can finalize my 2010 Personal Organization project, get prepared for Christmas, and work on Glenwood's remedial housebreaking issue that began the day I returned. My new shag rug is NOT grass, G-Diddy. You shall not pee upon 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!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yer Kin


I swear I'm not to the point (yet) of going all hardcore genealogist. I haven't even finished sorting through consulting files from 2002. The last thing I need is more records to manage. But I have to say, I'm interested in it and it might become my "new thing" as soon as I write a book>get it published>option screenplay>appear on Oprah in the ice blue Prada sweater.

One of the careers that was suggested to me via an aptitude test taken in high school (back when we had lead pencils, kids) was "private investigator." This was in the heyday of "Magnum, P.I." and "Cagney and Lacey," so I thought that was pretty cool but times being what they were, I chose a different path. Sidenote: Does that mean I didn't take my grandmother's Doberman named "Belle" for a walk nearly everyday and pretend she was both Zeus and Apollo and instead of Alabama it was Hawaii? No, it doesn't. Because I so did.

I do have an eye for little details and penchant for recall and sequencing, so I think it might be fun to embark on this journey. My mother's people (I love saying that and because I'm Southern I can - if you're not Southern, you can't say it ... it's just like that) are fairly well documented thanks to a a devoted distant cousin from Lexington, Tennessee, who passed recently. But the Johnsons are a mystery. My uncle Butch, who left us in May, gave me a little background about 20 years ago when he was visiting from Virginia. I just knew there had to be someone really decadent and spectacular in our gene pool but he assured me, in his amazingly pragmatic way, that we were "as common as shit." He didn't have a ton of information but two things stood out: a distant connection to Lyndon Baines Johnson and something about "Black Dutch."

The Black Dutch thing sounded really mysterious, of course, and initially I thought it could explain a lot - like why I love Missy Elliott so much and could be classified as a Booty Do - but have come to realize those people are rather swarthy and prone to criminal mischief. Which is, of course, what I find intriguing.

All things aside, my friend Ryan and I were having a discussion last night about terminology of "once removed" and "twice removed," etc. He was trying to explain verbally and I was attempting to draw a diagram on the microsuede of my sofa. Thankfully there's genealogy.com and the interwebs for other images. I really like this one and am keeping it for reference.
 
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, August 23, 2010

Lil' Ruby

Click image for larger perspective.
Because I majored in butterflies and minored in ponies, I also feed hummingbirds. This is not big news, as I've been feeding them at the office for a few years now. However, I have increased my hummingbird footprint and added a feeder to my veranda after nearly getting my head taken off by an errant chick when I was harvesting basil. Yes, I said it, VERANDA and HARVESTING BASIL: let the record show I am now Martha Bloody Stewart.

Immediately the family began using the feeder, without much hesitation. In fact, initially I wondered if they were rabid because I had not one but two really blessed occasions to be about 2' away from the feeder while a tiny hen perched and fed. I could see areas on her body that had not fully developed plumage and the shine of her tiny black eyeballs as she tilted her head ever-so-slightly. This image is of a young male, as noted by his ruby throat. I actually shot it using my zoom, through the glass door, but thought it was also a unique vantage point.

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, August 12, 2010

Apathy, it's what's for summer!

I need more fire in my belly. Dog training and home organizing are very consuming subjects, but I'm left with this obvious feeling of apathy where most everything else is concerned. I have to question if I've evolved enough to simply avoid emotional investment, or if I've just invested too much emotionally over 39 years and am flat-lining. The latter is more dramatic, so I'll go with B, Alex, for the Daily Double. At some point I am going to address feeling like a carcass that has used to capacity by scavengers. I just need to be strategic in how I go about this daunting task. Stay tuned! 

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, August 03, 2010

Come Into The Closet

I didn't take a before pic because I'd already made one intermediate "improvement" to my closet but, on one of the hottest weekends of summer (and in Alabama, that's saying something), I opted to stay in for a RADICAL closet overhaul. Should it take 3 days to remove existing shelving and add new shelving? Probably not. It does when you're me though, and everything has to be super level and plumb and precise. Result? I can walk all the way in and all of my luxuriation is contained in one space. Huzzah!

Was I thrilled to be able to modify a free-standing shoe-rack by fixing to the wall? Did I chop down the width of an existing one using a mere hacksaw? Why yes I was, and why yes I did.


Closet redo was Step 1 in a quest to relocate my pilates spring wall. Note to file: Spring Wall is a whore to relocate so don't plan any other functional crazies until you move. I still haven't finished my 2010 Year Of Organizational Change list, but I've gotten really far. I need to hang a few more shelves and edit a few more things, but overall I'm really pleased with tracking and it's been fun to have a goal to which I'm really committed.

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, July 28, 2010

Continuing With The Crazy

Thanks for the nudge, Sue-age!

All is well here in the Seventh Circle of Hell. It rained yesterday at lunch, and the steam that followed was literally - and I say that in the most Rachel Zoe way possible ... "Lit'trall-eee" suffocating. Still, I managed to hang my hummingbird feeders at the office because, suddenly, it's nearly August and I've not done that. Why did I decide to? Two days in a row my little hummer lit in the dogwood and sent me a telepathic message. "It's hard out here for a hummer," he said. How can you say "no" to that? How?

Because I'm planning to buy a crib next year, it only makes sense that I suddenly begin treating my apartment like it is, in fact, my own. Save money for closing costs when, instead, you can modify your closet? Yeah, that makes sense. However, for $60, I think I'm close to quashing a lingering annoyance I've had for 4 years now ... I cannot fit all of my clothes into a walk-in closet that, while small, should be better equipped and designed. As my girl Tonya told me yesterday, "$6 a month for your remaining 10 months - and happy - is worth it." She's right.

And even though I edited wardrobe earlier this year, I'm prepared to do it again once my modification with new shelving is complete. If it cannot fit into the space, I probably don't need it. People who reside on the Robby Hand-Me-Down list, prepare. There could be H&M in your near future.

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, July 19, 2010

Cymbals and Drums

The results of my pot rack "vision" are included here. I would like to state, for the record, that the only thing I was able to achieve from a goal perspective was staying below $30 on the hardware. Even though I spent $20 additional on dog items since Lowe's now has a pet area and apparently I cannot say no to a Nylabone.

Even though it only took 30 minutes to build the square frame (those were the leftover boards from building the mat platform for the spring wall), installation took several hours, and the box itself isn't 100% square. That's the result of trimwork that really should've been finished in a wood shop with a fine blade saw. And ideally I could've glued the pieces together and secured them with some sort of concealed joint. However, in the spirit of repurposing and utilizing existing resources, I just went with big stainless wood screws. I decided I would call it a very IKEA look.

I didn't plan to purchase another board but once I started seeking a rafter for permanent mounting, my luck took a nose dive. Because the rack itself only weighs about 5 pounds, and because the total pots/pans (excluding 2 cast iron skillets which I never use and, as such, was willing to store elsewhere) are probably another 25, I thought I'd install those on the ceiling with 4 drywall toggle bolts each and then hang the hooks from there. Lo and behold I only had to do one of those per board because I hit a rafter on the end pilot holes so I feel relatively confident we're set for awhile. And I was able to store my two flat skillets on diagonal corners on top of the box.

Yes, I went a bit overboard with chain. Let's just say if I ever need to haunt a house, I'm covered. But inside the box I incorporated a suspended chain with S-hooks for hanging the lids to the pots. This is an image I took lying on the floor because, let's face it, I'm a geek, and all I could think as I was in such a precarious position was playing "Pots and Pans" with my mother's utensils when we were kids. She'd give us a wooden spoon and we'd attempt to make music. I can only imagine how awful that must've sounded, but my mother is aces and always seemed to be able to rise above the small stuff. She did not, nor does she now, have a pot rack.

I also thought I'd stain the wood (and may still, eventually), but for now it matches and is rather pleasant in its natural state. Anyone who has visited me and bonked their heads on the 3 apothecary jars I had hanging from a light fixture in "the library" will be pleased to see they've been relocated and are hovering well above 6'! I think they add a fun touch of color.

And finally, none of this would've been possible without the guarding eye of Glenwood. He's such a sheepdog; he lies in the floor and watches, wherever I am and whatever I'm doing. Pretty cute huh?

Now that I've achieved this goal, I think I need to cook something "pots and pans-y." Maybe a good summer soup is in order. Possibly gazpacho!

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, July 15, 2010

Don't Bother



I don't know why I woke up singing this song but, I did. And hey, it's Shakira - not Karen Carpenter - so I'm counting my blessings. Shakira, in my not-so-humble-opinion, is pretty much a goddess and I a.) love this song and b.) think the video is SMOKIN'. So there. Enjoy!

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, July 14, 2010

It's Recently Come To My Attention ...

NOTE: This is not my kitchen, nor is this my project.

In the days of yore, I had a simple pot rack in my kitchen at the house in Little Rock and I hearted it like whoa. It wasn't as substantial as even this one, but it served my little kitchen needs really well. And it did a few things I find invaluable in the kitchen: opened up valuable cabinet space, made it really easy to grab pots/pans, and served as a semi-drying apparatus. Occasionally it also served as a bump to my noggin but hey, who doesn't benefit from the odd "Stay Proprioceptive" reminder?

Since installing the pilates spring wall, I've decided that life is too short not to have my stuff in even more freakishly structured order, so I'm going balls-to-the-wall and drilling 4 more holes into my kitchen ceiling this weekend. Why, you ask? Well, as part of Operation Spring Wall, I have 4 leftover 1 x 6 boards, 2' long, that have been sitting in the corner. I knew I could use them for something but was waiting for the idea/light bulb moment. It came to me today and I've spent part of the evening sketching/troubleshooting, etc. After I completed those steps, I Googled for some additional images and found this one, which is semi-reminiscent of what I hope to achieve.

My big challenge will be finding ceiling rafters around an existing florescent light fixture, but I'm sure it can be done. Famous last words, right? So here's my personal goal/challenge:
  1. Hardware for assembling + stain/finish for <$30.
  2. Assembly of pot rack < 30 minutes.
  3. Installation of pot rack < 30 minutes.
Stay tuned for the outcome. I should be writing and being more productive in other aspects of my life right now, but sometimes I have to surrender to the construction process. Particularly when it makes the residential environment more functional and easier to navigate. Cancer: 101. We nest. It's what we do.


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, June 30, 2010

Photo Organization

I'll be the first person to say that, where personal possessions are concerned, the thought of losing my photographs is probably one of my greatest haunts. I love images: the moments they capture and the history they represent are enriching.

Another thing they are is stress-inducing! With my patented and trademarked practice of "Why put off today what you can do tomorrow?" I have fallen perfectly into the "Boxes of Prints; Mangled Hard Drive" category and am working diligently to take control. The hard drive piece isn't quite as perplexing, but sorting through 34 years of prints is a little eye-crossing.

I haven't downloaded the book from OrganizedPhotos.com (yet) but think I'm going to as I've gotten pretty far into my system and think I'm at a place where some wisdom could really have a positive influence on the choices I make. Basically, I've taken all of my photographs and am sorting them into 5 different stacks: Robby (pictures primarily of me); Pets (dogs and horses and, yes, this is the largest stack); Family; Friends; Travel and Scenery. At this point I'm simply in the first phase of sorting. Once this is finished, I intend to go through each stack again, culling any duplicates and editing photographs that would certainly be a "delete" on a modern digital camera.

From there, I'll organize each stack into groups, as best as possible ("Cancun 1994," for example, in the Travel and Scenery category), then will scan everything at a high-resolution. Once scanned, the files/folders will be burned to DVD and stored in my fire-retardant safety box. I'll also optimize any images I want to include in a photo book (I like the ones from Shutterfly) or display in a digital frame. I'm also going to follow this same system with the images on my computer, and beginning in January, 2011, I'll simply backup everything to DVD from 2010. Hopefully I'll have a process that can be tweaked as technology evolves but, fundamentally, is buoyant.

As soon as I'm finished with my stuff, I'm going to tackle my mother's boxes for her. My working mantra was inherited, I must admit, but that doesn't change the fact that archiving our history is important.

Is it crazy to be this focused? What tips might anyone reading this share?

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, June 28, 2010

C A K E

So my sister, nieces, and mother visited over the weekend and my mom had endured 30 days of "friendship cake" starter and brought me a baked loaf. I DIE for it in hunks. It's so not swimsuit season-friendly and, yet, who cares?

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, June 23, 2010

Mr G "Leaving"



So, here's the thing - Laura-Catherine's brother Harrison posted 1 little video on her Facebook page and I have been sucked into a YouTube vortex of Summer Heights High. It's killing me - but not as much as my bangin' new Robyn album "Body Talk: Part 1." I can't stop listening to it. Lots of things are "parallelin'" for me right now. I've essentially lost the time to blog in the a.m. as a result of my super intense dog walks/training sessions which we do from 6 a.m. - 7 a.m. G Diddy or, as I've taken to calling him, "Sheepdog," is doing really well. I actually haven't put him in obedience class because I couldn't quite get a read on the modality prior to enrollment and while I never sugarcoat things when it comes to animal training, I can tell his temperament is one that could be quickly imprinted. So I'm choosing, instead, to continue working with him daily and we've actually added a clicker to the process and it's a lot of fun. He is beginning to get a fairly dependable "sit." My summer goal is to teach him to walk on a slack leash, "down," "stay," "off," and "leave it." His recall has been good but I added the clicker to it for learning to return the bouncy ball and twice today I've been nearly steamrolled by a 23 pound dog! Maddie is benefiting from the remediation as well as providing a good example for him to emulate. I'm thrilled we decided to add him to our home. He really has made it more fun.

On the pilates front, I was really excited last Thursday to receive notification that I'd passed my Level I certification examination (with a pretty formidable score too, thankfully). I am ecstatic and am now looking forward to completing the advanced training in Toronto in September.

Finally, the event I organized for West Alabama AIDS Outreach (WAAO) last weekend, a jazz brunch called "Sweet Summer Song," was a big success and we're already beginning discussions for its sequel.

With these things behind me, I'm now shifting my gears and seriously beginning to write the novel I've outlined/reoutlined/started/stopped over the past 5 years. In keeping, my "blog time" is shifting to the end of the day. I find when I blog frequently I'm more prone to write frequently, so I need to stay committed to my purpose.

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, June 17, 2010

TO ... Here We Go!

I'm sitting here typing this entry with a dog literally beneath my chair. One mismanaged shift and I'm sure it's going to result in Shreikzilla: He Came From Outer Space, but for some dysfunctional reason, I am quite OK with him needing to be close. Maddie has always been Miss Independent and, at this moment, has decided she should exert her Alphaness by sleeping on the prince's new dog bed in the boudoir. But enough about dogs. I swear I'm not going to become Crazy Dog Guy (again).

To the left is a super happy chic sitting on a pilates reformer. I began my pilates instructor training in 2007, not really sure where it would go but I did have a secret pipe dream: to go all the way with it by 2010. Having tested for my full level-1 STOTT PILATES certification in May (and anticipating results soon), I enrolled in Advanced Reformer training in March, and am now enrolled for Advanced Matwork and Advanced Cadillac/Chair/Barrels in Toronto, at STOTT PILATES flagship training center in September.

Once this training is complete, I'll test solely on the collective Advanced repertoires then, at some point soon thereafter, will enroll in a course called Injuries and Special Populations (ISP) which focuses on modifications for physical limitations and rehabilitative scenarios. Yes, that means pregnant chics too. In 2007 I was adamant that I knew nothing about birthin' no babies (still don't) and positively wouldn't teach anyone who was pregnant. Of course, back then I also only wanted to teach fit/pretty people, but what I quickly learned is that I derive a lot more satisfaction as an instructor by teaching individuals with physical limitations. And earlier this year I had a very odd Witchy experience: my pal and long-time client came in for an evening class after a brief job-shift hiatus from the schedule. For no reason other than intuition I immediately knew she was pregnant. She said, "Take it easy on my, it's been awhile, and I'm going to have to go easy anyway," and confirmed my suspicion with a wink of the eye.

So I'm excited to continue this learning - particularly with a friend who is sharing this path with me, despite living in Colorado. We're camping out at a bed and breakfast in mid-city Toronto, incidentally the week of the Toronto International Film Festival, and are planning to enjoy the city and, of course, stalk Clive Owen. What makes it even more enticing is that I get to visit all of the many wonderful friends I've made in Toronto as a result of sending my mare, Willow Bay, to be bred there in 2001. I had the opportunity to visit in both 2002 and 2003, and I'm eager to reconnect with them for a little Showcase Showdown.

I am very thankful for the people who have entered my life and encouraged me to continue seeking and searching. I will turn 40 in 2011, and even though I joke (and by joke I mean sometimes I'm not joking) about resisting, as the cliche' goes I know it's futile.

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, June 14, 2010

Over The Shoulder


As it turns out, Glenwood is developing quite the personality. This is, of course, why he begins obedience class tonight. He's such a sweet, expressive, funny little dog. It's always rewarding to see positive traits emerge in a pet. Our routine is such that we walk each morning, about 3 miles. This seems to keep the energy/crazies at bay, but only for about 18 hours. It's my hope that our class will begin giving us some additional tools for mental stimulation. Admittedly, he's pretty uncomplicated from that perspective so I do count myself blessed. What's super funny about him, though, is his love of a belly rub and his hyper-mobile hips, which allow him to spread out like a bear-skin rug. This morning we had a supermodel photoshoot after I dried his dew-wet legs and belly. He gave me this rich over-the-shoulder pose as a freebie. I think Tyra Banks would be proud.

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, June 07, 2010

Five Finger Discount

A few posts back, I referenced my fondness for modern products that edit and enhance the fundamentals in life. Keep it simple, stupid, continues to be a really good m.o.

This week's entry: barefoot running.

I have seen the Virbram Five Fingers "shoes" for several years around the pilates studio and, of course, with my yoga instructor. I had to laugh (and by laugh of course I mean judge) because of the way some ooey-gooey people communicate their insights on these things. Por ejemplo, " Energy abounds in your footbed. With these shoes my feet feel things. And when my feet feel things, I feel things. And that makes me happy."

OK.

Perhaps it's my long-term experience with horses, and understanding that "corrective" anything is almost always a disaster. Well-intended attempts to correct something in the feet will almost always affect a joint higher in the column. Of course this makes sense for people too.

Another positive aspect of my dirt road upbringing? BAREFOOTED, baby! I am pretty sure I wore shoes once each week (or only when I was riding my horse) during summer break, and I have to say I had no pain then. A few unplanned disasters - like jumping over a fence and landing on a broken mason jar nearly slicing off a large chunk of the side of my foot, which my father corrected with a few pieces of masking tape and a "you-be-aight" - sure, but never any joint pain. Unlike my unsuccessful attempts at running, over the years, in my fitted-just-for-my-stride running shoes that still render my knees to sharp, shooting pain despite MRI that reveals nothing.

And so it goes I will be tapping into the barefoot trend this summer, only this time I'll have a little protection to cover my dogs. I'll let you know how loud they bark during the transition.

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, June 01, 2010

Junio!

Here it is, nearly halfway through 2010 and what do you know? I have a new dog. I intend to write a proper entry about Glenwood, and how I came about acquiring him, but for now will just post a picture of our riverside stroll this morning.

He is a 14-week +/- miniature black-tri Australian Shepherd. Right now he is adjusting to life "in the city," having lived entirely at his breeder's place in the country rambunctiously active with his litter mates. Noise is new to him and we're taking it very slow with the introductions. And because he's a big baby, I wind up carrying him a lot of places. I am convinced, however, that he will evolve.

Maddie is quite fine with him, although she doesn't share his zest for puppy-play. She does let him lick her ears and worship her as The Queen, so it's been a fairly pleasant 72 hours. I am prepared to stay the course with physical and mental engagement - breed requirements - but so far he's good to just bounce a round a little then prone to sleep for a few hours. (The life of a puppy!)

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, May 27, 2010

Hanging Gardens of Babylon III

"Repurposing" is my word du jour when it comes to my little patio gardening attempts. I was mad impressed with my thoughtful conversion of some dry-rotted storage containers into planters, and am eternally optimistic in thinking that despite everything I've planted in them has died immediatelyfailed to thrive, they're going to give life to my started-too-late-and-unlikely-to-bear-fruit tomatoes. It's for this reason, too, I'm really excited it's farmer's market season. What we fail to produce here at the farm we can easily obtain just a stone's throw across the river. I MIGHT even add some air to the tires of mi bicicleta and ride over Saturday morning.

I also added an outdoor shade since my southwest-facing patio (complete with authentically redneck DirecTV satellite) gets all scorched and, in keeping with my redneckiness, stapled some screen to the railing. This way we get as much light as possible, but we attempt to keep the temps down a few degrees. Will it work? Only time, tomatoes, and fresh basil will tell. I am committed, however. And I will not stop until something - I don't even care what - grows and flourishes "in the garden." I am not dooming the lantana - a plant which supposedly is indestructible, although mine is looking puny - just yet. If anything, cactus is always an option!

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, May 25, 2010

My Gracious Drawing Room

I'm not even going to lie to you. I have worked REALLY hard over the past week to finalize my "residential overhaul." To some this may seem minor, but to me it's kind of a big deal. Like Edina Monsoon, I can't just live in anything. I'm very sensitive to my surroundings. So adding my STOTT PILATES spring wall required a fairly significant shift of furniture and reassignment of functionality to rooms/spaces within my crib. What this also means, I've decided, is that my upstairs neighbor will probably be really happy not to hear my drill for the next year.

My super-fantabulous cousin had custom bookshelves installed in her barndominium and, thankfully, I inherited her others. This led me to conceptualize how they'd fit in my space, and what I would need to do to accommodate the spring wall and my computer desk. I am happy to say I've purchased absolutely no new furniture: everything has been repurposed. That feels good. In actuality, a smaller bookcase I had is now serving beautifully as a storage system for dumb bells, medicine ball, and other exercise peripherals in my "studio." And even though my white club chair is dingy beyond repair (I paid a fortune to have it reupholstered years ago, pre-dog), I thought the slipcover that doesn't fit could get packed away for good. It's just Maddie's chair anyway, and life is too short to not have a little dog dirt here and there.

My takeaway from all of this is that life edits, like everything else, require constant administration and tweaking, and long-term planning. I am not finished yet, but I do know where I'm going (or hoping to go) and that's a good feeling.


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, May 19, 2010

Triumphant Return?

I didn't understand the concept of the "micro-blog" when, as a professional communicator, it was introduced to me about 4 years back. "What is that, like the Daisy Dukes version of blogging?" I asked. "What could you possibly accomplish in an expression containing less than 200 characters?" Turns out, you can get quite a bit done as my a.) Facebook profile indicates and b.) my lagging blog entries support.

But let's face it, there's a time and a place for a quickie, and a time and a place for your Barry White bomchickabowwow. If we apply this comparison to communication we can see there is relevance - and requirement - to elaboration and detail. In fact, messages have always existed within a range: maybe they're short and to the point, or maybe they're conceptual and require more support. The only thing new is the medium through which they're filtered.

What I find is that if the balance shifts too much to one end of the range, the deficit is nearly immediately apparent in my mental state. Too much micro-short-get-it-done messaging and I become frenetic. Too much elaborative detail that fails to express purpose and I become impatient or bored. What matters most to me is that I'm able to accomplish the things to which I am held accountable - both personally and professionally - while having time to absorb and process new information in my quest for lifelong learning.

Over the past month, my commitments and self-imposed scales have required a great deal of attention. It's hard to believe it's nearly June and I'm still invested in my self-improvement/personal organization project. I have given myself permission to spend the entire year of 2010 working on this "life edit" because it's important to me. I want it to be an adaptive behavior, so I have better systems in place for managing scenarios to which I'm cyclically exposed.

At the same time, I am actively evolving and unwilling to yield learning opportunities that keep me both humble and interested and which I feel bring value to both my own personal repertoire as well as the physical and mental well being of others. (Insert big Ooey-Gooey Zen Sigh here.)

What does that mean, in simple terms? (Here's where we get to demonstrate message diversity.)

  • I planted some more tomatoes this year.
  • I sat for my full Level 1 STOTT PILATES certification examination last weekend.
  • I finally figured out how to make my wireless modem work with my laptop and suddenly my living arrangements have changed dynamically (for the better!).
Let's see if the pendulum swing to a wee bit more depth of content and reduced "life speed" will last. I am hoping it will be with me for the summer, as while I don't want to rest on my laurels, I do want to give myself a break. Life is too short for implosion.
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, May 10, 2010

Hipstamatic

The tragically hip should always have an even more tragically hip underling to advise them of all things, well, hip. I am blessed to have a cadre of such hipsters through which I have learned of a most fantastic iPhone app called Hipstamatic. Hipstamatic is, quite honestly, the sort of dichotomy for which I live: it's a digital photo application with lenses and films that make your pictures look vintage. Brilliant!

As we scorch forward into a world of HD and augmented reality, I find a certain comfort being reminded of "the way things used to be." I'm pretty sure this is the first step to declaring yourself old but honestly, I don't even care anymore. Our culture of instant gratification leaves so much to be desired. Gone is the opportunity to wait and anticipate - like getting a roll of film processed and having 2 weeks to recall the images you shot, the way it felt, looked, smelled and hoping you'd captured it exactly that way. Normally I didn't, but the process of that recognition brought with it more value than the product itself.

When I was a boy my parents and aunt/uncles would take us to a campground nearby in Mississippi to spend a big chunk of the summer. My mother and her sister kept us fed and clean 3 times each day, but otherwise we would swim, water-ski, master the Pac-Man game in the small pavilion, etc., while they had a chance to recline, read, and relax. It was a pretty good deal across the board. It was what they did, as well, as they were growing up.

Yesterday, on Mother's Day, events sequenced in such a way that I was the only sibling with our mother. My 14 year-old niece found out on Thursday of last week her golf team had qualified for the Alabama State Championships which sent my sister's faction into a tailspin since they're competing today and tomorrow and, as such, they left for Huntsville yesterday morning. My little brother works a 4-day on/off work shift and was "on" so it just left me and the 'rents. We contemplated a seafood lunch on the causeway but after breakfast my mom decided she'd like to visit the campground to see its recent renovations. A cloudless sky and breezy upper-70's were the perfect backdrop for a picture perfect day. But the actions - and interactions - were what made it even better. We grabbed an ice chest, ran through a Subway for sandwiches, and a half-hour later we were beneath the shade of an oak tree on the edge of the lake, recalling fondly the times we'd spent there.

My mom pointed to an area and told a story I'd never heard, of how she and my dad and grandparents had camped one night in a tent when she was pregnant with my sister. That would've been 41 years ago, and I was immediately mesmerized by the thought of them there: what they said, how they looked, what they did. I saw myself at 10 years-old with 2 water skis tied together, my mom on the shore cheering me on as I popped right up and experienced gliding over water for the first time.

At the end of the picnic my parents had secured a spot for their camper for the entire month of June, which will be spent doing pretty much the same things but this time it will be my nieces and nephew who will begin the cycle and, of course, I can't wait to be there with them to share in the excitement.

Although it isn't the summer of 1968 (I wasn't even alive then!) I loved taking a picture of my parents that make it seem like it could've been. It captures not only a moment, or an era, but more special to me it captures a life.

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, May 04, 2010

Hanging Gardens of Bablyon II

The hanging coconut fiber baskets, despite chronic watering, served as nothing more than the Fred Flinstone version of a microwave oven last summer and rendered the petunias wilted and chewy by July 1. This year we're trying something new: Hanging Butterfly Gardens of Babylon. Basket lantana is specifically developed not to spread, and the plant itself is very heat and drought tolerant. Plus, butterflies love it. Score!

Debbie at Barton Nursery gave me a tip and I'm trying it this year: line the coconut fiber with a plastic bag (poke a few holes in the bottom), then fill with potting soil. This creates a moisture barrier and prevents the fiber baskets from sucking the life out of the soil and, as such the plant.

You know you like 7th grade science class with Robby as much as I do. Admit 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!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!

If I found myself in Wonder Woman's lasso of truth (again) I don't think I'd struggle as much because the truth is, rope burns take a really long time to heal. And when she asked, "Did you vacuum this week?" I would say "NO! Because I HATE to vacuum."

After this awkward exchange she would ask me to accompany her in her invisible jet to somewhere really exotic and tropical as a reward for owning my hate of the vacuum - which of course links directly to my hate of carpet - and it would be my hope I'd get to wear some of my new bathing suits but, for now, let's not put the jet in front of the vacuum cleaner. Because I have a dog, I have to vacuum. A lot. And because I like anything that professes to be superior, I'm now obsessed with getting a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Specifically the one called "Animal."

Incidentally, "Animal" was always my favorite muppet, so I take that as a sign I should have this vacuum cleaner. Maybe I'll read some reviews. Maybe I'll try Freecycle. Maybe I'll sell an organ. I think the TRUTH as we know it, Wonder Woman, is I will have a new vacuum cleaner. Because life is too short for my inferior Eureka. If' I'm going to vacuum, I want to create a tornado of suction capable of sucking chrome off a trailer hitch. End of story.

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, April 28, 2010

Black Warrior

It was 43 degrees when I took Maddie outside at 6:15 a.m. I could see steam rising from the river as the sun made its debut, and decided to return inside for my camera to see if I could capture this in an image. Not surprisingly, the rowing team was out practicing, so while I got lucky with subject matter I only had a few moments to setup and press the shutter: they move surprisingly fast.

Nice way to wake up, huh? This is why I continue to assert that if my apartment were a condo, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. I love the setting and I am clearly very sensitive to my surroundings!

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, April 27, 2010

Happy Times

The 2010 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event has come and gone. It was the 12th year in a row I've attended: each year with one of my best friends Shannon-na-nana-na or, as she is sometimes also called, "Theresa." The photograph is of use watching the dressage on Friday afternoon. I thought it would be funny to attempt to capture Ollie Townend in the ring as he did his dressage test on Ashdale Cruise Master. Squint hard down by "A" (or the white tent for all of you non-dressage-ring readers) and you'll see him doing his thang.

This year we lost one of the Janes but picked up another, so I still had 2/3 Jane representation (AND learned what a co-efficient meant in simple terms, thanks Jane!) and I couldn't have been happier. I am blessed to say my life is good every day, but it's even better when I'm around horses and my horsey friends.

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, April 20, 2010

Cool Guy

I was all set to tackle the world of app development because, like my desire to be the Rat King in The Nutcracker even though a.) I'm nearly 39 and b.) I've never danced a ballet step in my life and c.) I've never even seen The Nutcracker, I never let lack of knowledge or skill deter me in my pursuit of things I think have potential.

One of my favorite movies ever is "Clueless," and it suddenly occurred to me that an app reminiscent of Cher's closet organization computerized clothing matching system would quite possibly be the best thing I could ever put on my iPhone. I'm a visual perceiver and tend to respond/learn from shapes, color, and actions. I also think an app like this could totally ROCK for packing, and completely eclipse "Packing List," an app I purchased before traveling to England last year. It's a list, so of course it lacks any visual texture and, as such, I perceive it as useless. I mean really, app developer, who doesn't think to pack a razor and deodorant? (Jared Leto notwithstanding.)

So I've been all excited and even made a contact with someone who is developing an app and offered to connect me with his development team in India. I mentioned this at the pool on Sunday and of course one of the children said, "There's already an app for that. It's called Cool Guy." I wasn't really that surprised since the whole "App for everything," catchphrase is based on a heightened reality and so I've downloaded (it's even free) and am going to give it a spin. It won't spin outfits like All Recipes, or Cher in "Clueless," but it's a lot farther than I'd have likely gotten. NOTE: I don't fail at everything I think is cool. I have been practicing my arabesque. But if I've learned anything it's that we must pick and choose our battles.

Anyone have experience or opinions regarding this app?

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, April 15, 2010

Panorama

I have recently discovered the awesome of my panoramic setting on my camera. Because it is The Robby Way (tm), it's only taken 2 years but hey, what matters is that I now know.

Here are a few I've snapped since March.

The first 2 are at my cousin's amazing place in Hudsonville, Mississippi, on the Ides of March. That's as much as I can say. It's a top secret location, as we plot to rule the world here.

Obviously you have to be careful in small spaces or else you get a fish-eye effect, a'la the pilates studio (3).

Mountaintops make for good panorama. Deer Valley Resort, Park City, Utah (4).

And nothing says "Welcome Summer" like a pontoon boat on the Alabama River (5).






 


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, April 14, 2010

Little Boos


I would be lying if I said I didn't think my nieces and nephews and 2 cousins, once removed, are the cutest kids on the planet. They are. L-to-R: Josie (niece, my sister's daughter), Megan (cousin, daughter of Jeff and Shonda), Megan's brother Nathan (he's like a ride at Disney World), and Tyler (nephew, my brother's son). Not pictured is Cydney, my sister's oldest daughter who is 14 and into driving the truck around the campground.

I was fortunate in April to get to spend 2 weekends with them camping down in Wilcox County. I know it seems cliche but seriously, they really do grow up right before your eyes. Thankfully they're doing it right before mine.


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, April 13, 2010

Robby Recycles

It's no big secret I've been recycling for decadesyears. And because I'm Robby, this means I continue to seek the perfect recycling station solution. When I lived in Little Rock and owned a home, it was quite simple: put recycling items in the provided-by-city-utility receptacle in garage. Place at curb on designated day.

Because I live in an apartment (which we're saying goodbye to next year and, gulp, doing the big boy thing and purchasing a home), and in a city where recycling works a bit differently - there are these big trailers with compartments located around town where you can place your items - I have to be strategic and segregate my recyclables. This, of course, requires a system.

Robby lives for a system. 

Or, I should say, Robby lives for the pursuit of the perfect system. 

Last summer I purchased these mesh laundry hampers - the sort I like to call "voila!" because they fold down to a circle and you flick them open with your hand to produce a hamper: brilliant - that were sectioned and, to be honest, they worked fine. I could just grab the handles, place in my car, and go. However, it had to live on the floor of my kitchen and I was always having to move it and, if you know me, you know I have a hard time with things being out of place. I am spending 30 minutes a day attempting to edit my life and, as such, have gotten comfortable with things being disheveled because I know in the end THE SYSTEM is going to be amazing, but honestly, life is too short for a mesh laundry basket on your kitchen floor.

So I'm workshopping this representative system: maize baskets ($5 each, Wal-Mart) with recycle bags inside atop my kitchen cabinets. Sure, I have to get a small ladder out each time I want to fill them, but that's OK. It's exercise. And who doesn't like standing up tall, peering down on his kingdom, making proclamations and judging the underlings (Maddie)?  These 3 baskets are designated for paper, metal/aluminum cans, and plastic. I retained a different receptacle, that matches somewhat in its lime green plasticness, for cardboard, which I find I actually amass most.

We shall see how long this system lasts. Already I feel better knowing things are more concealed and orderly, but I do recognize it's not the most efficient way. I know if I cleared the baker's rack of display objet I could pull off the same idea in a more easy-to-access schematic, but let's just take it 30 minutes at a time. 

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, April 07, 2010

You Know Me Better



In the words of my infamous Facebook wife, the legendary Miss Laura-Catherine Sheffield ... I DIE! Roison Murphy is amaze and herney, this here my JAM!

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, April 05, 2010

Mi Carro

8 out of 10 respondents in a recent survey said they'd rather spike their Cosmopolitan with Drano than take financial advice from me. True story. And who can blame them, really? To loosely quote someone I never met but whose words are the stuff of legend (as shared with me by my cousin), "There is no budget I cannot live beyond."

But for some reason, that isn't the case when it comes to my whip. Years ago I had a trusted mentor who was an accountant (but not the typical kind - she was gorgeous and soulful and would get drunkie at office holiday parties and sing on the piano a'la "Fabulous Baker Boys," ... probably why I listened to her) who said, "You should never finance a vehicle for more than 36 months." This advice was probably given in 1993. Apparently it still holds true.

Have I financed a vehicle for longer than 36 months? Yes. I was working on 48 months for Cracker, my beloved Ford F250 that I sold in 2007 to my friend in North Carolina. In a moment of rare clarity, I applied all of the equity I had in the vehicle to a 50% down payment on Bonsai, my 2007 Honda Fit, and financed the balance for 36 months. Last week Bonsai officially became mine. This is not an Earth-shattering savings, I should note. In fact, the vehicle has been super-affordable to own and operate. Even during the gas price gouging of Ought 8, I was paying $36 to fill his little 9 gallon tank. And I could drive to and from Atlanta (3 hours) on that.

It does, however, remind me of another financing scenario we've all been subjected to over the past few years: the housing/mortgage downfall which is largely blamed for the global economic crisis. Living large isn't a sustainable practice. It's a great ego/personality rush and do I think there are times when it's totally appropriate to pop a cork on a $100 bottle of Dom Perignon even though you should be saving for Christmas gifts? ABSOLUTELY. Life is short, you understand. But it's about balance. And it's easier to justify an occasional nicety when the necessities are kept in relative, affordable check.


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, March 29, 2010

Skidaddle


I still can't believe it all worked out.

I hadn't been skiing since 2007, when we visited the legendary Le Broussard in Whitefish, Montana. Having only learned to ski in 2005, I've had the good fortune to also ski in New Mexico, and Park City, Utah. It had become an annual occasion with my friends Mark and Bill until my pilates education became a timing barrier, so I was thankful to be at an accomplished place with that so 2010 could be about returning to the slopes. In all honesty, I have acquired an appropriate amount of ski garb and I refuse NOT to wear it.

Initially I had planned a Valentine's Day return to Montana but several challenges presented as the year progressed: a fund-raising event in town I needed to support, as well as extreme airfare for Mark and Bill (I'd redeemed a frequent flyer ticket). As the year culminated, my friend Erin, who had hosted us in Park City in 2006, purchased her first home there, and we decided to see it in person.

During my hiatus from skiing, Mark and Bill have continued an annual trip or, as I like to call it, ski-cheating. They've skiied Breckenridge, Colorado, as well as Park City again last year. We like Park City and Deer Valley, so it's an easy decision to return there, even moreso now that we've had our celebrity brush with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick at the Empire Mountain Lounge at Deer Valley Resort.

Bill has become quite accomplished at attacking the blue slopes whereas I prefer a blue-green combination. This wasn't a problem, per se, until Saturday when Picabo Native Erin joined us and I decided to ski down a green trail to meet them at a lift and, as it turned out, that trail didn't terminate at the desired point. This left me alone to navigate my own personal 2-hour Odyssey and I've never been so happy as I was when I saw Bill skiing below me on the lift, oblivious to my perch 100 feet above ground. We finished the day skiing some really great trails down to a hearty lunch, and added greatly to our ski repertoire: 1.5 days at Deer Valley, 1 full day (scalped ticket, thank you Mitchell family) at Park City, quality time with Miss Erin and her precious canine Addie, apres ski at various locales, and sleeping until we felt like waking ... I miss it already!


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!