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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.)
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.
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!