Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Great Outdoors

This past weekend, I went "camping" with some of my childhood friends and their parents at Big South Fork State Park. My friends are 3 sisters that I grew up with, and their parents remain friends with my parents to this day (my parents are sorry, now, that they didn't go with us this weekend, as is my sister!). All 3 girls ride horses (although Cathy doesn't ride as much or competitively any longer) and they "inherited" my very first pony, Red, that I got when I was about 6 and then passed her along to the Vaughan girls when I was about 8. They kept her at their farm in Bristol until she died just a few years ago. She was fat and happy and well-loved her whole life, so I will never forget how wonderful Kelly, Cathy, and Sarah were to my old pony. In fact, I'm getting ready to move my 28-year-old horse, Luzaz, up to their farm to retire in what will most likely be his final resting place, but I can't talk about that or even think about that right now.

What this particular post is about is not how special the Vaughans are or how great they are to my ancient horses, but it's about a weekend spent with some quality folks, my horse, riding for hours with them out at the park, and basically talking horses NON-STOP for 2 days straight. That's a typical weekend for me, at a competition. But this wasn't at a lesson, a clinic, or a competition. This was all just for fun, and that's the best kind of horseying-around that I can do...the kind that is just for pure pleasure. The pictures I've put up here are of one of the "cabins" in the resort where we stayed, and a picture of one of the stables. Each cabin is on a private drive out in the state park and it has (literally, right outside the front door) its own private stable. This was not a camping-in-tents-and-tying-the-horse-to-a-tree kind of adventure. We're way more high-class than the cowboys!!!

I had such a great weekend that I really didn't want to come back home (especially since the "cabin" had a satellite dish, a huge hot tub, and a dvd/vcr...so we weren't roughing it by any means). But, here I am, back at work. I can't wait to go back, now, and it's only a little over an hour's drive from me! Maybe we'll go back this fall, when the leaves change color.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Never fear, I am not getting broody all of a sudden. But, isn't this the cutest picture of Becks ever???

Happy Beckham Monday!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I have a date this weekend with my main man, Eddie Spaghetti. We're going to Big South Fork State Park with some friends and their horses, and we're staying in a cabin with a lake, barn, and private paddocks. We'll be riding all day Friday and Saturday, and staying in the cabin/lodge on Friday night. I'm looking forward to a stress-free trip with Eddie, since when we take off and hit the road, it's usually to a lesson, a clinic, or a competition. It'll be nice to just chill with friends for a few days.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Guilty Pleasure

One of my guilty pleasures is definitely American and British pop music. My real passion is music like Snow Patrol, Coldplay, Keane, Travis, Damien Rice, Paolo Nutini, Muse, My Morning Jacket, Deathcab for Cutie, Arcade Fire, Regina Spektor, Kaiser Chiefs, Old 97's, etc., but occasionally I come down off my music-snob pedestal and slum it with the rest of the radio geeks.

For some unexplained reason, I love Maroon 5. I have both of their cd's, and while I don't listen to them constantly, I will put one of them in the cd player when I want a little pick-me-up (sometimes, Damien can really drag me down). Actually, I wouldn't say that I love Maroon 5 for "some unexplained reason." I think that Adam Levine's voice, and certainly his physical appearance, are explanation enough. He ranks up there on my Beckham Scale of Hottness at right about "8 Becks" (with "10 Becks" clearly being the highest possible score), right below Ioan Gruffudd at "9 Becks" and just above Gary Lightbody at a solid "7 Becks." Adam is a cute enough guy for sure (this picture says it all), but he strikes me as the type of guy who is attractive, but is most likely almost irresistable in his actual presence. It's probably more his physical demeanor that is hott, and not entirely just his looks. Sort of like Rhett Miller, who is very lovely to look at, but will absolutely stop your heart and take your breath away when you're standing right in front of him (although he really is a little small and pasty in person).

This pop music addiction of mine is just like candy: incredibly tasty and satisfying in the moment, but completely unnecessary and unfulfilling in the long-run. We all need our guilty pleasures, though, or else we become dull and average. And everybody knows that I don't do "dull" or "average."

Krazy Kat

My cat, Velvet, likes to sit on my tv cabinet and watch the television's image as it is reflected directly across the room in a big floor-to-ceiling glass window. This causes me no end of consternation, as she is usually perched directly in front of my digital cable box; which, in-turn, blocks the remote control signal and I'm not able to change the channels, play a dvd, adjust the volume, peruse my DVR recordings menu, watch all of my stored "Family Guy" episodes, etc., without my getting up off the love seat and making her move. She adores doing this to me ALL THE TIME. In this picture, she has just been watching a movie in the glass window, but is now watching the movie right there on the tv screen itself. It's all just so fascinating to her.

And, I'll give a cookie to the first person who can identify the movie that is playing on my television screen. Melissa, you aren't allowed to participate, although I'm sure you're the only person who can actually get the right answer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Big League

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to aim a horse at a big-time cross-country obstacle, then here is your chance. These are two pictures of the water complex at the recent Pam American Games, held in Brazil this past weekend. The combination of fences is ridden as a jump over the logs at 20A, drop straight down into the water, gallop across the pond and jump the alligator, then gallop on across the pond, up that wooden bank/wall on the far side, and finish by jumping over the log back up on dry land. You can't really get the full impact of the height of these fences (they are about as high as your waist and as wide as your desk), the solid composition of the jumps, or the effect of galloping a 1400lb animal up to something that he may or may not want to jump. But, this is a fun look at eventing...from the horse's perspective. I can say with full confidence that Eddie would not like that alligator. That's when Holly would, as the Brits like to say, "Come out of the plate and into the drink."

To get an idea of what it's like to jump something big off of solid ground that drops away straight down into water, then see this previous post with a picture of Karen and Teddy at Rolex this past year. Oh, and by the way, the pony WON the gold medal at the Pan Am's!!!! He's amazing.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Here is some Monday morning hotness, per the usual...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Finger Baker

Wow. My sister just sent me this little item of information. I had an Easy Bake oven when I was little, but I don't remember it looking like that. It seems like mine looked more like a toaster oven. The one in this picture literally looks like a monster that is going to eat some kid's hand...because you know some kid is going to put their FINGERS in that slot at some point, and not just the little tray. I can't believe this thing is actually called an "Easy Bake" oven, as (although I am blissfully childless) I know full well that nothing with "bake" in the title is either safe or "easy" when a 4-year-old is involved.

Lucky #7

The new (and, allegedly, the last) Harry Potter book is out today (officially at midnight). I just tracked my pre-ordered copy on UPS.com, and it should be delivered to my house by 11:00 this morning. I can't wait to get home this evening! I know what I'll be doing all weekend!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Good Pony

Eddie is such a good horse! We had a very successful (if not a tad too hot and exhausting) weekend in Franklin back on June 30/July 1. I am ashamed to say that I don't ride my horse everyday. There are some very good reasons for that, mainly that my horse knows his job, so I don't ride him into the ground here at home. I also do not jump my horse more than once or twice every 2 weeks at home, since the ground is hard in the summer, and he knows how to jump, so my jumping, and jumping, and jumping him for no reason is unnecessary and only wears on his precious joints and bones. The last (and most prominent) reason for my not riding everyday is that it's hot in the summer...and I'm basically lazy. Believe me, though: Eddie DOESN'T COMPLAIN.

We are planning to move up to novice this fall at the Kentucky Horse Park in October (we're jumping a novice-level cross country jump in the above picture, and it seems pretty much a non-issue), so I need to really spend more time in the saddle, to justify our move up and to give us a better chance of success at a new, more challenging level. I'm always more motivated as an event approaches, and as the late summer sweltering heat gives way to cooler and cooler fall temps, then I'm hoping I'll be out with my guys more and more frequently. Maybe if I set weekly or bi-weekly goals for us, I'll be more diligent, but my current goals really are just to enter a few events per year, go with my friends, and have fun (how we end up in the placings is usually an added bonus, since I don't really compete to win). But, like the title of this post says, Eddie is a "good pony," so we'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Veggie Booty Drama (Part 2)

The saga continues...

Am I not just a little bit obsessed by this all? I'm so distressed by the fact that a person runs the risk of contracting Salmonella poisoning from a puffed rice and corn SNACK FOOD. I mean, come on, people! It's not like it's raw eggs or uncooked poultry. I'm freaking out here, just a little.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Beckham Monday...for realz

Today truly is "Beckham Monday!" Will you be watching?

Friday, July 13, 2007


One of my favorite chores, lately, has been to get out and water the flowers around my house at dusk each evening. I have a big wild cherry tree that towers over my side yard and reaches towards my house, which makes it very green, leafy, and shady. When I stand under that tree in the evenings, the crickets and cicadas are so loud and rhythmical that it's almost hypnotic. Last night, I was standing there in the cool breeze under the tree, looking towards my barn, listening to the nighttime bugs, and watching the fireflies come out to play. Out of the corner of my eye I saw one of my dogs wander through the backyard, my little cat was rubbing against my ankle, and I could just barely see my gorgeous horse, Reece, grazing off in the darkening haze, swishing his tail back-and-forth and twitching his ears at the gnats. My chest has felt so tight lately, with stress and anxiety, that it's only in these types of moments that I can shake off the day, take a deep breath, and really feel like myself.

Have a great weekend everyone! Don't forget to breathe. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nice life.

This is my cat Samuel ("Sammy"). He does this a lot. I really wish I had more time to live like a cat. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


...or, is it metrics? Or, physics? Anyhow, if it involves numbers, I suck at it. But, that's why we have the internet, so that I don't have to remember stuff from high school that I never should have had to "learn" in the first place.

Will, there are exactly 128 fluid ounces in a fluid gallon. I totally knew this the other day when we were discussing it, but I pretended like I didn't, so I wouldn't seem too smart and all. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I finally got to see the video of the Snow Patrol set from Live Earth this past weekend (I missed them when the Sundance Channel broadcast the shows on Saturday...I was probably taking a nap). They were wonderful, as always.

"I don't know where, confused about how as well/ just know that these things will never change for us at all. If I lay here, if I just lay here/would you lie with me, and just forget the world?" {sigh} LOVE THEM!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Beckham Monday

I'm feeling much better this week, so Beckham Monday is back with a vengeance.

Friday, July 6, 2007


The Live Earth concerts are this weekend: Saturday 7.7.07, to be exact. The London (Wembley Stadium) line-up is superb, as expected. My boys -- Snow Patrol -- will be playing there, along with the likes of Keane, Beastie Boys, Duran Duran, Damien Rice, David Gray, James Blunt, John Legend, Madonna, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Once again, I find reason to lament the fact that my forefathers saw fit almost 400 years ago to cross the Atlantic and settle permanently in Virginia rather than staying put in England. Imagine all the great music I could have been enjoying on a regular basis in the UK, much less the greater number of opportunities I'd have had to stalk Gary Lightbody. Perhaps, afterall, Gary feels it is better/safer this way. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2007


...Not that I'll really be taking one anytime soon, but the next great vacation I get to take, I want to do this: cave tubing in Belize. I saw a thing about this on the Travel Channel last weekend and it looked so fun. Not as fun as 8 hours of tubing down the Swanannoa River in Swanannoa, NC (with my college roommate and her brother), but different, at least!

"The Belize Cave Branch River flows through four caves on its course from the Maya Mountains to its confluence with the Sibun River. Slickrock puts-in near Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge, who also offers cave tubing rather than rafting. After the put-in you paddle through several miles of jungle and orange groves cut from the jungle before approaching a rugged section of hills that have eroded into what is known as karst topography. Huge white cliffs covered with vines rise dramatically from the thick jungle, and suddenly the river veers right into one, where we enter a river cave that soon envelopes us in complete darkness. Using headlamps for lighting the way, the current takes us through the caves, which occasionally pass by openings into the jungle."

Sign me up!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Eating for a good cause

For those of you in the Charleston area, I hope you get out and enjoy some food for a good cause this weekend. It looks like a great way to gather, mingle, raise some money, and honor the firefighters and their families.

Monday, July 2, 2007


So, I woke up this morning and my eyes were so puffy they were almost swollen shut. I do not usually have puffy eyes or problems with facial swelling. It's a bit beyond me what might have caused that, but it's Monday, so I'm not surprised in the least. In addition to this, our wonderful IT department at Wilbut Smurf decided to integrate all of our domestic offices' internet servers onto one big server that comes out of the corporate office in Columbia, SC. They switched over our Knoxville and Nashville servers this past weekend, and my email is all bogged down, and my internet is soooooo slow. I know it's Beckham Monday and all...and Becks "always makes it better," to quote myself...but seriously, I do not even have the energy today, y'all.