Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Yup. Semi annual posts…. Here’s the rundown, less the business trips to Portland and Sacramento. Because ugh. No photos. Just tiredness.

Mid October, a friend asked me to come up to Reno so she wouldn’t have to go to see Toby Keith on her own. Since I can totally appreciate that sentiment, I said, “Sure!” And he surprised me – he’s got a fantastic voice, and does great drinking songs. It was a good time.

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Also October, the brother came with his family – only the second time ever they have come to visit me – so I schlepped them up to Zion for a day long death march of canyon beauty. It was a gorgeous day, but the park was quite crowded. Still, Zion never disappoints. (For those of you keeping score, yes, I did the Narrows with dad in September, and again with more fam in October.

becca-kayenta

My brother and his family came for the second time ever to visit me – so I took them to Zion. I love that park.

And because October was not busy enough (there was also a horse show in there, but I didn’t show), I also went to Pittsburg to see the other brother, and his cuter than cute baby. Oh and there was football. Georgia Tech football. It was most excellent.

885914_10203361238686642_3700689577559518258_o

In November, I started auditing the USDF L Program so there was a weekend in Moorpark. Then because I missed my folks and they would be out of the country for the holidays, I conspired, and cashed in miles and flew home to Alabama for a grand total of 24 hours to surprise Mom for her birthday. It was a good 24 hours.

Baxter and I spent 24 hours in Alabama as a surprise on Thanksgiving.

Baxter and I spent 24 hours in Alabama as a surprise on Thanksgiving.

Back home and on to the L Program once again. Back in to the LA area, where Axel Steiner was the instructor. Axel has meant more for US Dressage than just about any other person alive. He’s a judge, instructor, clinician and just a fantastic person to sit and talk horses and dressage with. I thoroughly enjoyed that weekend.

Axel Steiner - L Program

Axel Steiner – L Program

I got a nice quick break to head up and take advantage of a condo that Dr. Linda and Bob got for me as part of my birthday present – a lovely condo with a view of the lake. There wasn’t enough snow to justify skiing so I didn’t take my skis, but just hanging out and relaxing (And drinking wine) with them was wonderful.

Lake TAHOE!

Lake TAHOE!

Christmas was back to Alabama and my brother’s house. I got the flu. And strep. Seriously. At Christmas. Fortunately, the chairs in my brother’s theatre room are quite comfy, and I only spread my illness to half the family. There are no photos. Because ugh.

Happy new year. Trip to Portland. Then Surprise birthday party for me – my friends had me so good, I brought food. To my own surprise party. IT was My Little Pony themed and apparently half of Vegas knows I like wine because that’s what I got. Lots of it. SCORE!

Then – as a special treat, because this was a big Zero birthday, I knew one of my most absolutely awesome favorite artists – Eric Church – was in town doing shows on the weekend of my birthday. So I bought tickets, and through a friend of a friend connection, I got a meet and greet pass. And thanks to my other friend who didn’t want me to go alone, Eric was primed and ready for me with a big hug and a “Happy Birthday!” This was one of the highlights of my birthdays. Ever.

Eric Church!

Eric Church!

Back to Moorpark for the last L Program weekend – getting pretty good at the drive to LA at this point (blech). And the instructor was the indomitable Janet Foy –  amazing judge, author, and international judge instructor. And one of the demo riders just happened to be Jan Ebling. Jan rode Ann Romney’s horse in the 2012 Olympics. What a treat. What an absolutely amazing opportunity. If there are any of you considering even auditing the L Program, I urge you to do it. Great fun, fantastic insight.

10974733_10204035439901251_7426112314413884947_o

Jan Ebling, warming up for a demo ride for Janet Foy. USDF L Program, part 1, session C.

Rascal Flatts took up residency at the Hard Rock for a while here in town, and a friend of mine scored 2nd row seats. Between the meet and greet with Eric Church and these seats, I believe I am getting ruined.

Rascal Flats - Second Row

Rascal Flats – Second Row

Work is crazy. Absolutely nutszoid. So Kimmie and Punkin and I declared VACATION TIME! and off we went to camp at a secluded beach side camp ground about 90 minutes north of Santa Barbara in some of the most beautiful country I’ve seen in a while. About 14 miles off Highway 1, Jalama beach is a gem of a spot, and mid-march was about as perfect as it gets. As an added bonus – your cell phone loses signal about a mile off the Highway 1. Four days to sleep, walk the beach, read, and NO EMAIL! I want to go back.

Jalama Beach

Jalama Beach

Jalama Beach

Jalama Beach

Jalama Beach

Jalama Beach

Dad turned 75 this year, and as part of his birthday and christmas present, I bought us tickets to a practice round of the Masters. We drove up to Augusta from Alabama, and spent the Monday  walking the course and watching the golfers. Augusta National is everything they say – and so so much more. Even the patrons (spectators) are good looking and polite. We had a fantastic time, and now dad and I will watch the tournament and talk about because we were THERE.

IMG_2455 IMG_2483

On the way home from Augusta, dad drove us by my childhood home. 20 years of my life was imprinted on that place – it was so pretty in the springtime, and it looked the same – but not really. The trees are taller, things have changed, and it just made me so so sad. You really can’t go home again. What a a wonderful place that was – what a wonderful childhood I got to have. And I got a chance to tell my dad thank you for it. Though I’m sure the crying just confused that message. LOL

11078179_10204464662711553_1677700128226817241_o

And not two weeks later, the FEI world cup was BACK in Vegas – the best of the dressage and jumpers in the world gathered here for the highest competition in the world in 2015. Betty and Nancy came back to visit – its a tradition now, I think. The jumpers are all insane. The courses were brutal (much has been written about the World Cup jumping courses – the riders were not happy and there were wrecks. Every night.)

IMG_1192

But the shining star for the week was Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro – she’s an amazing rider and Valegro – well, lets just say there were no dry eyes in the house watching this world record shattering duo perform. Axel Steiner (who was my instructor in the L Program) did the live commentary for the dressage – he’s always got something to say, usually positive, often very instructive and educational – he simply just said “wow” during Valegro’s rides. And stated the musical freestyle they did was probably the best he has ever seen in his decades of judging.

IMG_1020

It was simply magic.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Clearly too busy to blog, LOL. Hope you’re all well, if you’re still reading this. Ciao!

Zion Narrows – with Dad

Apparently, I’m at semi-annual posts now. Sigh.

The weekend after labor day, Dad and Punkin and Kimmie (who were my Death Valley friends too!) and I did a day trip to hike up the Virgin River to the Zion Narrows. It was awesome. And my dad is amazing.

Here’s a couple of movies. Great trip – a mile from the shuttle stop on paved path, then about 1 more mile, hiking mostly along and in the Virgin River up to “Wall Street.”

I recommend this – highly. Rent some gear – Tevas will not save your toes or protect you from rolled ankles. There are multiple outfitters in Springdale that will rent you neoprene socks and shoes (with toe protection – CRITICAL) and walking stick for less than 25$ for the day. (Neoprene socks are also highly recommended – the water is at best 60 degrees F).

Enjoy.

Did you miss me? ZOINKS!

The Mile High team came for their annual visit a few weekends ago, and adventure was had by ALL.

I wanted to do RaceTrack Playa, and Mile High Guy wanted to do Titus Canyon, so we met up with Punkin and Kimmie, secured a rental jeep, and went off roading in Death Valley, baby!

Seriously – this was my second trip to the Valley O’Death, and while Furnace Creek and Badwater and the sand dunes are cool….but, whoa.

So we packed up the dawgies (We had Kimmie’s Sam for a sleep over so they could stay at the not-dog-friendly Furnace Creek Inn) early early and drove out to Furnace creek for breakfast.

Jeep was secured for the MH duo and myself (and B-dawg) and we headed for Titus Canyon.

The road to Titus canyon is a one way track – it “requires” high clearance. AWD/4WD is handy too. Alot of this “need” will depend on how recently the road has been graded and what the weather has been like lately. I could see this road being a real PITA after a rain.

At first, you pretty much are driving in the middle of the desert, just west of Beatty, NV. Then you climb a short ridge and start going up and down little hills and valleys. Its really kind of cool, and the distances are quite deceptive. Once you get over the highest ridge, you descend into a valley, complete with a cool little abandoned mining “ghost” town. (haunted? Who knows???) the Mile High Architects wandered and did some architect things around the buildings.

IMG_1381

The last mile, mile and a half is a slot canyon – and the reason why the road is one way only. You can drive up the other way to the mouth of Titus canyon – they even have a potty and parking lot there, but you have to walk in if you want to go from west to east. tituscanyon4

It snakes through, with really cool geological rock stuff too. I swear, if I had grown up in the desert SW, I probably would have been a geologist. Punkin IS a geologist, so going out on these trips is always fun. He’s also a history buff, so we stopped several times and got a school lecture.🙂

Titus Canyon

We were probably a tad ambitions, trying to drive over to Furnace Creek (OMG, we left my house in Vegas at 530 AM.), drive through Titus Canyon, and then hit Race Track Playa annnndddd then drive back to Vegas all in one day. Fortunately, I got us to and from Death Valley, and MHG did all the driving whilst there. Fair Deal. We got home around 11pm though. Its a loooooonnnngggg day trip.

On the way to Race Track Playa, you can stop at Ubehebe (you-beh-hee-bee) Crater. Its cool. Magma. It was windy as all get out up at the edge tho.  Ubehebe

We were very fortunate that the ~30 mile dirt road out to the playa was recently graded. Punkin and Kimmie said that a few weeks earlier it was stupid awful, and hence the recommendation for us to rent a jeep rather than risk my new shiney Suburro. Needless to say, the jeep was AWESOME (thank you MH duo), but the subaru could have easily tackled the road – we saw a Mini Cooper driving all the roads we were on. So yeah, it really depends on the road condition on any given day.  On the drive out and back, you pass through this really neat Joshua tree forest – they are all about 6 feet tall and I can totally imagine some Native American story like Coyote froze these people here forever for some such reason or other. Seriously, they look like people. I just wish I had gotten a photo.

Race Track Playa is where the sailing stones live. These are boulders/rocks that have fallen into the dry lake bed and then have travelled (“sailed”) along the lake bed, leaving clear furrows behind them – some several hundred feet long. No one has really seen the rocks move, no one is 100% certain how it happens. Its really really cool. And the trip to Titus Canyon put us there in late afternoon – which is phenomenal light for photo taking. So I give you – the sailing stones (and The Grandstand) from Racetrack Playa.

???????????????????????????????

Cool Colored Rock – went straight straight for a long ways

racetrack2

The Playa – with the Grandstand off in the distance

???????????????????????????????

Couldn’t have asked for better lighting unless it had been cloudy.

???????????????????????????????

Puppeh shown for Scale. (Puppehs not allowed on Playa. BREAKING THE LAW!)

???????????????????????????????

Baxter is pretty sure the rock just moved….

racetrack6

Sunset shadows on the playa

???????????????????????????????

Cool hexagonal drying pattern of the clay….

???????????????????????????????

more neat sunset shadows…

???????????????????????????????

My favorite shot – this one had some swing to its path!

???????????????????????????????

What makes the rock decide “Turn NOW!”??????

racetrack11

Stupid footprints from stupid asshats walking on mud while wet.

???????????????????????????????

Metaphor photo

The Playa was for me one of those really great, amazingly personal places of Moment. Look at all the rocks – all progressing on a different path, at their own pace. Some of the rocks follow in the furrowed tracks of the rocks ahead of them. Some only follow for a little bit, some just cross paths. All seemingly with their own purpose, with no urgencey. People come and document them on their path, in this moment of time. Sometimes I think the wonder of our universe punches through our reality and slaps us in places like this. You can’t help but be awed by how cool this place is. If you get the chance, do go see Racetrack Playa.

(note: Punkin and Kimmie were there after recent rains, and you’re not supposed to walk otu on the clay (and get up to the rocks) while its wet, so try to go after a dry spell.)

That’s all for now. Catch you next trip!

Don’t blink!

Hi. Its me again. I was the traveling dervish (almsot whirling but not quite) much of this fall. Thing were settling in and then they weren’t and OMG and breathe breathe breathe.

I am currently back on my Netflix crack-like addiction of Doctor Who (I sat through all 6 episodes of Sherlock on PBS the first weekend of the holiday) – which is pretty much all I did over the WHOLE WEEK of thanksgiving. I rode my pony. I took naps. I ate these (which, I made myself – brag brag stupid stupid STUPID – so good with hot tea – STUPID)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars - the main ingredients? Butter and sugar.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars – the main ingredients? Butter and sugar.

I drank wine – lots of fantastic wine that I absconded with from Paso Robles. Lots. Love Paso. More on that later.

And I watched Doctor Who. For hours. <insert sigh of happiness here>

See – the 50th Anniversary was that time – I went and saw it in 3D with apparently several HUNDRED of my dearest friends. IT was like going to see a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture show. I kid you not. I figured, “7pm on a monday, will be pretty quiet, grab some popcorn on the way in, choice of seat. Is a Sci Fi repeat of the special that was on BBC-America two days ago.”

ha. WRONG. The Theatre was packed. People had #4 Scarves and sonic screwdrivers. There was CHEERING and clapping when Billie Piper appeared, and oh, oh oh… SPOILERS. sorry. Never mind. I was giddy. And a little sad. Because you see, back in the early days,  the Doctor used to be this grand secret in the US that only a few of us nerdy types knew about. It is now, dare I say it, almost *mainstream*. (David Tennant, I blame you. As I adore you, and want to hang out with you and your lovely wife, but still, I blame you for this.) ANYWAY – there it was. And it was goooood. So I have to admit after Doctor Donna, I quit. Too much with the crying and the Bad Wolf Bay and oh. So I never got into #11 until the 50th. But now? Now I’m catching up.

And this thing with The Doctor (and lets be honest, David Tennant) – it is so very much like my feelings about Bennedict Cumberbatch – I was a fan before it was cool to be a fan. Now? Now there are these screaming hordes of women (and men) and blogs and pinterest boards and “best looking” magazine covers. Sigh. And girls, yes, he’s handsome and  talented, and well, BRITISH, but there’s no need to act like ninnies in public over the poor man. Have a little self respect.

Now, I’m just one of the many – no longer hoarding my little secret stash of “omg, this stuff is so so so good. I should tell someone, but then I would have to share. DO NOT WANT TO SHARE.) I just want my very own moderately good looking, clever British man to have witty conversations with. Is that really too much to ask?? But you gotta love a great sense of humor – check this out:

So where was I? (besides spending far too much time on my sofa, eating way too much sugar while watching endless Netflix?)

OH – So here’s a little tour of my fall.

New New Harmony, UT - looking west.

New New Harmony, UT – looking west.

I got a new Subaru – it was that 3 year lease thing. Love it. LOVE it. Back up camera, blue tooth, love. So Punkin and Kimmie (my Toroweap camping chums) and I took a day trip on Labor day to scout out state parks (dog friendly, unlike the national parks) for future trips. I made us take a detour to get the following shot on the drive back:

Kolob Canyon - Zion National Parks

Kolob Canyon – Zion National Parks

I vaugely remember September. I got a new job/promotion in September, and we took another dressage clinic trip to Park City and EXHAUSTED.

October was more of the same. Two trips to California. The first a day trip for a wedding in San Fran. I had never been, but had always wanted to see the Palace of Fine Arts (not the wharf or China town or the half a dozen other things in San Fran.) – my schedule got screwed thanks to delays and it being “trainee day” at Hertz, but I did get to see it and walk around (and take some great photos!):

Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco

Palace of Fine Arts – San Francisco

Funny enough, its a short walk to the beach from there, and I got to actually see the mythic Golden Gate Bridge from afar.

ITs really red.

ITs really red.

I only stayed a day because I had a mad dash to Baltimore. The following week I had a mad dash to Denver – both were work related trips, and I didn’t take photos, which is stupid because on both trips I got to see some of my bestest peeps in the world, but there you go. Both trips, funny enough, suffered from major airline snafus, and I didn’t get near enough time with my friends. Sigh.

In between, I went BACK to Avila Beach, CA – a place my good friends from NC introduced me to last year. They showed up at the end of my vacation there and we all went wine tasting in Paso and I bought aloooottttt of wine. Good wine. Wine I don’t want to share. Unless you’re that British chap I’m looking for, of course. B-dawg got to go this time because I drove (no shipping $$ required when you drive, ha ha ha. I am slow, but I do learn!) and he is the best travel buddy. Avila also has quite a few dog friendly restaurants so we had a good time, and met lots of people.

Dog friendly part of the day - Avila Beach, CA at sunset.

Dog friendly part of the day – Avila Beach, CA at sunset.

Whats shakin lately? Just work work work. Got to take a behind the scenes tour of Hoover Dam just recently – but even they won’t tell us the top super secret Homeland security protected stuff, which is good (and boring) but there’s enough nerdy stuff to keep ya happy anyway.🙂

Damphoto

 

And I try to get pony time when I can find it. Rico and I have a pas de deux partners that we both ADORE. The horses like each other, and K & I spend so much time laughing during practice, my trainer is all, “If you two would just shut up and ride, you’d be done by now.” Our music will be from The Blues Brothers – we plan to debut it in February, and hope to take it all the way to Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in September. Here are the boys after a fantastic practice this Thanksgiving:

Rico and H - listening intently to the plan for the next practice

Rico and H – listening intently to the plan for the next practice

Whew. Thats all I got for now.

Oh, and Benedict – any time you want to engage in fun repartee, drop me a note (admin@suzihill.com)🙂 I’m usually good for it.

Ya’ll, I’ll be honest. I’ve lost the blogging vibe, the tell-all mojo.

My year, it has gone to shit. And yet still, in light of it all – getting dumped, getting disappointed majorly at work, moving out of my house, moving into a rental house, trying to sell my house,  getting high stress work assignments,  I am in a better place than most, so while I struggle, while I despair, my knowledge of “relatively, it could be worse” gives me that added dose of guilt when I engage in self pity.

And as they say, “Ain’t no one got time for that.”

But ultimately? This year, it has been HARD – emotionally, physically and financially. I’m trying to figure out if I just had karma calling in a debt, or The Universe Is Trying To Tell Me Something. If it’s the latter, it can stop  – I understand. I can’t execute yet, but I understand.

I am so freaking tired. You cannot even imagine how tired I am.

So there’s the update. Send wine.

The view last week from the 16th floor of the Regional Justice Center. Where I had jury duty. All week. Dear Universe - Please stop.

The view last week from the 16th floor of the Regional Justice Center. Where I had jury duty. All week. Dear Universe – Please stop.

I’m still here

Just hella busy. And I’m debating about just shutting down this stream of consciousness because of now the third case I know of where someone’s blog has bit them in the arse, either personally (cited in divorce case) or professionally (via termination.) Now that I am becoming “Someone who might be close to being Important someday” I am getting more and more concerned about some of the material I have/may post here. Especially if taken out of context.

I was also thinking of instead, redirecting the content of the blog – maybe just highlighting some of my most favorite trips in the desert SW. Just got back from Toroweap Overlook on the north rim – was freaking amazing. Make it an outdoorsy, fun stuff, type blog. Even though I only do that every 5 or 6 months, but still.

Anyway, I’m here. Am OK. V. V. Busy.

April Sunset at Toroweap overlook

April Sunset at Toroweap overlook

Make it #3

That's right, baby.

That’s right, baby.

Oh, I can’t even begin to tell you about the latest saddle debacle. But suffice it to say, the new one I bought last year, that was delivered this July? BAD SADDLE. SORE HORSE. SAD ME. POOR (literally) ME. So I just bought another – this one off of ebay – but a “Trainer approved” brand, hoping this time, dear god, three times will be the charm. Until then, Rico got time off, some bute, and now is back being ridden by tiny trainer in her tiny saddle.

Fortunately, Cowboy has 4 horses. (Yeah, I know. Four. But they stay at his house, so its “cheaper”) And he’s letting me ride his dead broke cow horse. Its been educational. And HARD.

Here’s to hoping the ebay saddle works. Because that bitch doesn’t have a return policy.

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.