Thursday, May 31, 2007


So, yes, I've been working this week in the Lexington office, and the guys up here have really been spoiling me. Brad brought in homemade doughnuts from a local bakery yesterday morning, and John brought in chocolate chip scones for breakfast today. Mmmm. They do know how to make a girl feel very happy and appreciated!

Yesterday afternoon, Brad ordered in lunch for those of us who were prepping for the City of Georgetown presentation, and he called food in from Ramsey's Diner, across the street from the office in downtown Lexington. I had the Southern Fried Chicken Salad, with extra homemade Ranch dressing, and an ice cold Coke. It was so good. I mean, it was soooooo good.

I just have to say that if you don't like some fried chicken, ranch, and Coca Cola, then you might as well name yourself Carmen and move up to New Jersey, because you sure ain't Southern. As for me? I'm Southern, and I like some fried chicken, ranch, and Coke. Even though it's not on "the plan," it got me through the day. Next week, I'll buckle down and get back to the gym!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Auntie Holly

I love my best friend, Michelle's, two kids: Alden and Chloe. LOVE THEM. Love them like they were my own (because, I can love them like they were my own, but at the end of the day, I can give them back to their rightful handlers and walk blissfully and childlessly away).

I'm working in Wilbur Smith's Lexington, KY office this week, so I get to spend the evenings with Michelle, Jim, Alden, and Chloe. Last night, we had a lovely time eating Asian take-out, playing ball in their backyard, and then working some magic with Lincoln Logs until it was time for me to head to my hotel. I'm going back tonight for more quality time. It just can't be beat. Starting with May Daze last weekend, my productive time so far in the office here, and my evenings with Michelle and Jim and the kids, it's been a great week in Lexington. Yay for Auntie Holly!!!

And, yes, for those of you who know that Alden named his stick horse "Eddie," after Auntie Holly's real horse named "Eddie," that is Alden and "Eddie" in those pictures above. Everybody loves Eddie!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

May Daze!!!

So, my first event of the year is upon me. Whether we're ready or not, Eddie and I leave in the morning for Lexington to compete in the May Daze at the Park horse trials. We're in a division of about 20+ riders, so unless they've decided to further divide the divisions (we've only got A-C right now), then I likely won't be coming home with a ribbon, as our dressage just isn't usually enough, even when our jumping goes cleanly and smoothly. But, I'm really wanting to move up to Novice this year, so I'm going to this competition -- first and have fun! -- and secondly, to gauge our readiness and ability to move up a level at the end of the summer. I'm not going up there to win, I'm just going to see how well we're doing (on our own, with little or no instruction since February). I'm hoping for a nice, fun, solid outing. Oh, yeh, and I'm hoping to not fall off! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pretty as a peony

So, my peonies are now about expired for the year, and I always get sad when they are gone. Here are a few pictures of my lovely blooms from this past spring. Until next May....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sooooo jealous.

Ok, yes, my friend Amy is now "living the dream" on her own eventing farm in South-Central Florida. But, hey, someone might as well get to live the dream, as it won't be me! Another dream Amy gets to live, unlike me, is training with Jonathan and Jennifer Holling at their Willow Run Farm, in Ocala, Florida.

Last week, Amy drove into Ocala and took a lesson with Jonathan. For those of you who know me well, you know that J-Ho is second in my affections only to Becks (and, of course, Ioan). My envy of Amy runs most deep, right now. :) But, then again, if I can't "live the dream," then I'll have to live vacariously through Amy. Lucky dog!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Beckham Monday

So, Jenn. Here is some Retro Becks, just for you. Everybody have a great week!!!

Friday, May 18, 2007


I'm a horse/farm girl; therefore, I'm a big-time truck girl. My dream car would be my friend Amy's Ford F250 Super Duty crew cab, in dark forest green, with all the chrome accents, running boards, and full towing package. Sweet!!! But, then again, while we're on the subject of "sweet!!!", so is Amy's new horse farm in Florida, with a pristine "barn queen" barn, and in-ground pool. Alas, coveting Amy's new truck, new house, new barn, new horse, and her new trainer (Jonathan freaking Holling...who I worship and adore) is not what I'm here for today. :) Today, I'm going to talk about "my" new truck, which will be the means by which I haul the ponies over hill-and-dale until I'm debt-free enough to buy my own truck.

My parents just got a new Silverado 2500, and as such, I also "got" a new Silverado 2500. I should get to drive it this weekend, in the lead-up to my departure next week for Lexington and May Daze Horse Trials. I'm excited about getting out to my first competition of the year, but I'm also anxious, as I don't feel quite ready and I am certainly not in shape. I may not produce the most lovely dressage test next weekend, and I may not show jump with the same textbook form I've exhibited in the past, and I may not be able to ride with the grace and control I so long for cross-country...but I will be arriving and departing in style. So, Eddie better get on his running shoes, because we are hitting the road next Friday on the first leg of our late spring/early summer competition and training schedule, and we won't be looking back.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Green thumb

I have inherited a lot from my mom. I'm not one of those girls who dreads the fact that she's "becoming her mother." I'm not too worried about that, as I have already taken the good from my maternal genetics, and weeded out the crazy. Mama can keep the cra-zee...she's much better at that than I am. Anyway, one thing I've certainly gotten from my mom is her green thumb. Right now, I'm enjoying some of the most beautiful and fragrant pale-pink peonies (probably my most favorite flower in the world) that my mother planted in front of my house when I moved in a few years ago. The peony bush was a cutting from my mom's peony bush, which was grown from a cutting from my grandmother's peony bush, etc. So, this love of gardening has, literally, been passed down to me through several generations. But, that's what southern women do, I guess. We keep things forever, then eventually pass those things on to the next in line. Like, how my mom hangs on to and "squirrels away" the 10 different partially-complete sets of random and assorted yard sale china that she likes to buy, and then unload onto me and my sister. But, I digress...

This discussion is not really about my Mama's cra-zee, but, rather, it is about my love of gardening and flowers. And, when I say "gardening," I mean buying flowers from a nursery every year, planting them while they're in bloom, enjoying my little summertime flower fantasia, then just letting nature take its course over the winter. I don't mulch, I don't weed, I don't till, I don't dead-head, and I don't "thin" or separate plantings and cultivate and replant them every year. Therefore, I'm a big fan of what is known as "container" gardening. With containers, there is no weeding, thinning, tilling, or winterizing. I simply buy a pot, put in some potting soil, and plant a flower. I'm not so much into the starting, seeding, growing, cultivating, and maintaining of a full-on flower bed.

See, my love of gardening has more to do with the plant selection, the arranging of the various flowers with other flowers (according to color, height, texture, and bloom), and the unique array of types of containers that do exist, just waiting to be utilized in a new and creative way. Yes, I am that person that has a fully-grown, mature, and quite prosperous "recycled old bathtub" water garden (complete with rocks, fountain, water lilies, moss, iris, frogs, tadpoles...and the occasional frog-eating black snake) in my front yard. I have two little windows that are the focal-point of the side of my house that faces the west-to-east approach up the road that runs by my place, and those windows get lots of late afternoon soon. Plus, from that side of my house, the little shack doesn't look too bad, so I like to "dress it up," as best I can. Right now, my window boxes out there are pretty ratty-tatty, and all but dead.

I'm getting ready to plan a new arrangement for those boxes, and I'm getting all excited about the colors I'm going to go with (probably something in pink and purple, which isn't really a surprise to anybody who knows me). I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with something that looks almost "too full," that has a lot of blooms; and, I know I'm going to be using several types of ivy to accent. It's that old English cottage look that I crave, which I must replicate in the American South, since I'll never, ever actually get to live in an English cottage. This is what I'll be doing for the next few days. I'll take a picture and update next week, when all is complete. I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Kelsey!

Today, my blog is all about you. :)

Sorry about the Laddy picture, but I couldn't resist. I know it's old, but it's so cute. Happy Birthday, girl! Hope you have a good one!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And, speaking of hair...

Wasn't it Bette Davis who famously once said, "I'd love to kiss ya, but I just washed my hair"? Lately, I've been tossing and turning, trying to figure out if I should do something different to my hair: layer it more, get my bangs cut again, let it grow and leave it alone, or chop it all off up to my chin (like I did a few years ago when I was in graduate school). I stress about my hair, because I like my hair. It's soft, it's blonde, I can blow it out straight and sleek, or wash it and go...letting the natural curl take over, leaving it wavy and spiraly. I've commented lately to several people that I'm just going to cut it all off for the summer. This elicited emphatic responses, such as, "Oh no! You're hair is so long and pretty," and "If my hair was like yours, I'd certainly never cut it all off!" I definitely feel like I don't have too much going for me in the beauty department, save for my hair, so perhaps I should hang on to it, and just leave well enough alone. But, it gets stringy, and I have to keep it trimmed to maintain it's weight, texture, and shape. I get it highlighted around the top once or twice a year (not a big deal, since the sun takes care of the rest), but then I have to say to myself, "is it time to get some highlights, or should I just sit outside a bit this weekend?" I also worry about the hard water in my well and the damage it is doing to my hair. Am I using the right conditioner? Am I washing it too often, when I should really just be using a deep moisture treatment every other day? Are those split ends? Do I have any gray hairs (God forbid!)? Are you tired of listening to all this nonsense, already? So am I.

I was home this past weekend for Mother's day and I mentioned to my mom that I wanted to cut my hair (my mom, the constant champion of my long, blonde she kept my hair that way until I was physically old enough to toy with new textures, colors, and cuts for myself-- inevitably going back to my natural state of just plain long and blonde). I ran through the laundry list of pros and cons, and my mom finally looked up at me and said, "well, if it's that much of a struggle to decide what to do with it, why don't you just grow it a bit more, then donate it to Locks of Love?" I have friends who have grown their hair and then donated it to LoL. My hair dresser is actually a LoL recognized stylist. It would be so easy, to just go to Shannon and say, "I want to donate my hair, so tell me what I need to do, how much longer it needs to be, what I should do with my remaining hair when I chop it all off," etc. But all of this is so tiring. And, a bit obsessive, I know. How much better would it be to make a decision based upon something proactive, rather than based on something self-involved, vain, and self-centered?

So, I'm going to chat with my hair dresser this week about the possibility of donating my hair. When I pull it back into a ponytail right now, my longest layer is about 7-8 inches. It needs to be 10 inches to donate, so maybe at the end of the summer I'll have it long enough. And, when I say "have it long enough" I mean 10 inches from the nape of my neck to the tip of my hair. That means, when it gets cut, it GETS CUT OFF. Maybe even shorter than my chin. I'm ok with this, though. My one comment about my long hair is, "oh, well, I guess I should keep it long and blonde before it turns gray and all falls out!" Perhaps this is true, but I'd rather grow it long and blonde for a good reason, than one so conceited as all that. I don't think I'll be sorry, even should it start turning gray next year and never be the same again. That just shouldn't be important to me (and, in all honesty, I'm NOT THAT OLD, so there is no way that is really going to happen).

As Eugene O'Neill put it: "I used to think that getting old was about vanity - but actually it's about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial." I've decided to spend my time worrying about the people (and animals!) in my life, and not so much what I look like any longer. There's only so much I can do about the "outside" of me, but there is a whole lot I can do to make the "inside" better.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What has happened...? (Part 3)

I just can't tell you how disturbing this new hair cut is. It's Monday, so I should be revelling in the amazing spectacle that is David Beckham...but instead, I am horrified and dismayed. Disturbing. So, so, so very wrong.

How can this be? Life is not good when I see tragedy such as this. This is Becks, right?

Friday, May 11, 2007

At least someone is trying...

I read an interesting article about Prince Charles's eco-awareness practices in May's issue of Vanity Fair. There are certainly 2 sides to every coin ("If the Prince is so concerned with the environment, then how come he flies chartered jets all around the world and drives a Range Rover?"). He admits he is not a puritan, when it comes to every aspect of environmental issues, but at least he's made a start. I am interested in his Duchy Originals line of organic foods (sold in shops in the UK, and sold online for the rest of the world). I am also intrigued by the fact that he and Camilla recently flew commercial to New York, simply sitting in first class and smiling pleasantly to the rather shocked fellow passengers on their British Airways flight.

One of his current initiatives is to try and instigate a marketplace "transparency" of resources, regarding the carbon dioxide costs for transporting and shipping products all the way around the world. Why use 60 tons of carbon dioxide to fly bottled water into London, when it can be trucked in (using biodiesel fuel) from Scotland?

I think that there are a lot of negative things intoned by the press about Charles's attempts to live a more green life (it's easy when you're the future King of England to live differently than the rest of the world) but I applaud his progress, and even radical efforts, none-the-less. If the English can't try to get the world to understand the beauty in organic food processing, reducing carbon dioxide levels in freight transportation, and preserving the forests, then who can?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Groovy, Baby!!!

Ok, more ex-SNL cast member fun news today! Looks like Mike Meyers is planning to make a 4th Austin Powers movie soon. He has mentioned recently, during a promotional interview for Shrek the Third, that he'd like to do another movie, this time from the perspective of Dr. Evil. It'll probably never come to fruition (like the "Simon" movie he'd planned to do at one time, and just never got around to). But, if the new Austin Powers flick does happen, I'll be all about it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The joke is on you, fro!

I love Will Ferrell. Looooovvvveeee him. He's just one of those people that is famous for no other reason than that he is really, genuinely funny, in both a physical and creative way. I know that most people either love Will Ferrell, or they hate him. I happen to love him. And, what I love more than Will Ferrell is seeing Will Ferrell razzed by an incredible British actress, who also happens to be a recent Oscar winner, and who clearly has a very fun-loving sense of humor. And, who looks like she's maybe not just a little afraid to get her hand *too* close to Will's hair. Long live The Queen!

Monday, May 7, 2007


It's Beckham Monday, which's time for some Beckham. See how easy that all is? Kristen sent me this photo last week, which overjoyed me to see that his new hair really isn't as bad as previously believed (and, yes, I did crop Victoria out of the original photo. Yes I did). Perhaps last week's photo was a fluke. Bad lighting? Maybe. I'm just glad to see him looking more like the gorgeous Becks that we all know and love.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Shout Out

Kim Severson is a great eventer, but I didn't mean to overlook the other 2 Americans who travelled to England for Badminton this weekend. Jan Byyny, of Purcellville, VA, and Gina Miles, of Woodside, CA, are also competing. Gina's horse, McKinlaigh, is a beautiful, big (17.2 hands) Irish Thoroughbred (Gina and McKinlaigh are shown in the picture above). He is one of my favorite horses, and I just wanted to quickly recognized them and wish them well at their first Badminton. They are currently in 26th place after dressage, but I'm sure they will move up a good bit after tomorrow's cross-country is run. McKinlaigh is just one of those big, solid, "old school" event horses that looks amazing across country. He makes everything look fun and easy, and Gina always has a smile on her face when they go galloping by. That's the way it should be!

(Photography by Tim Nicholls)

Badminton Horse Trials: DAY TWO!

Well, since the UK is 5 hours ahead of good ole Tennessee, I get to ponder the current Badminton results at a rather early hour, compared to waiting all day for news from local events! Looks like Kim and Dan are in 2nd place, 3/4 of the way through the dressage, which will place them well up in the order going into the cross-country tomorrow morning. Good for Kim! But, as always, lately, our current World Champion, Zara Phillips, is looking to unseat everybody. I'm sure her mother is thrilled for her, as usual! I used to dislike Zara a lot, as I felt that she was more of a randy socialite (constantly in the pages of my HELLO! magazine) than a serious eventer. Since she has matured a bit, settled down with Mike Tindall, and brought along her horse Toytown, she's really showed that she's not just a spoiled royal, or an undeserving product of a privileged eventing heritage (mother: Princess Anne; father: Capt. Mark Phillips). I like Toytown (and, only slightly because he looks like Eddie!), and I like the fact he's a difficult horse to ride and she has done all the work with him...brought him to where he is practically from the beginning, with the help of her mother, father, step-mother, and Andrew and Bettina Hoy. She has certainly shown the world that she is no joke.

Best of luck to everyone at Badminton tomorrow. I'm sure it'll be another tough cross-country course, as Badminton is "the event."

(Photography by Tim Nicholls)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Badminton Horse Trials: DAY ONE!

The great thing about the spring is that two of the premier events in my sport are held on consecutive weekends. Rolex: in Lexington, KY, the last weekend of April; and, Badminton Horse Trials: the first weekend of May, is very historically and traditionally held on the grounds of Badminton House in Gloucestershire, England. Both are 4-star three-day events, although the cross-country course at both events have been called "5-star" challenges (if there was such a thing) in recent years. They certainly represent the pinnacle of my sport, along with Burghley (also in England) and Adelaide (in Australia) and are the spectator highlights of the eventing year...similar to The Masters, the US Open, the British Open, etc. in golf, or Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open, the US Open, etc. in tennis.

Today is the first day of dressage at Badminton, and our American eventing goddess, Kim Severson, and her Athen's Olympic silver-medal horse, Winsome Adante, are contesting Badminton for the first time ever this year. I'd love to see Kim and Dan have a great go of it and represent American eventing with the talent, style, and grace that she typically does so well.

(Photography by Tim Nicholls)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What has happened...(part 2)

Again with the hair???? His adorable little "twisted and flipped up in the front" hair is one of my favorite things about Becks (and, believe you me, there are an infinite number of "my favorite things about Becks"). Why you wanna go do dat??? In this nightmarish photo, he looks like a scary cross between Ralph Fiennes and Sting. It's so wrong!!! Just be Becks, David. JUST BE BECKS. Don't go and ruin my life by ruining your hair. Ever. Again.