A story within a story…

October 6th, 2010 2 comments

Retro Camera :: SecretariatGrowing up, I loved horses. They were my favorite animal, and I dreamed of some day owning one of my own.

We lived on over an acre of land, and my young self couldn’t understand why I couldn’t feasibly have one. That was, until my parents very logically explained to me about the cost of having a horse, and I realized it wouldn’t happen. I was “okay” with that, but I never stopped loving horses.

I read books about horses. I had bookmarks with horses on them. I had figurines of horses. I had shirts with horses.

I loved horses.

One Christmas, I received as a gift a “statue” (it was plastic and probably meant to be more of a toy than a statue) of Secretariat, a famous race horse. I heard the horse’s story, but it really went in one ear and out the other. I just thought it was a pretty horse to put on my shelf.

Oh okay, I played with it. I still have that plastic statue, one ear broken, some of the red/blown coloring faded off its back. However, I won’t let my husband toss it (along with other horses statues) no matter how much he looks at me like I am crazy for still having them.

I still love horses.

Now, I’m not the most observant person at times. Especially when it comes to movies coming out in theater. Movie tickets are just too expensive (in my opinion) and I’ve never been a huge movie fanatic. If I go to the movies once a year, I’m doing good. Twice in a year, someone call CNN, this is news.

All that being said, I not once noticed any movie trailers for the new Disney movie “Secretariat” until an offer came in my Inbox from BlogHer for an early screening of the movie from Disney. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t ask my husband. I didn’t think twice. When I saw a movie screen on a date we were both free in Nashville, I requested two passes. I think I squealed out loud with the confirmation email came to my Inbox. Not only were we going to the movies, we were going to see a horse movie!!

So, last night, my husband and I got dressed and headed out for movie night/date night. We arrived and I really had no idea how it would all go. The theater was mostly dead, save for a long line waiting to go into one of the theaters. I needed to use the restroom, so my husband took my email and went in search of the Disney representative as we’d been instructed to do.

When I came out, my husband pointed to the line and said, “We’re to get in that line.” I have no idea why I was surprised to see so many people there for the movie, but I was. I jumped in line while my husband went to get us something to drink. The line started to proceed into the theater, and I noticed everyone around me had special Disney passes. When I got to the front of the line, I handed the lady my email I’d received and a young man beside her asked for my name. I gave it to him, he glanced at his iPhone and went, “Okay! You’re good!”

Waiting for the movie to start...

So, we went in and found ourselves a pair of seats and settled in to people watch. I found myself wondering if anyone else was there via BlogHer. One young man came in carrying a spiral notebook, and I guessed he was there from a local newspaper or something. There were kids and elderly alike there, but I’d guess the median age to be around 30-35.

Finally, 7:00 rolled around and the movie started. I didn’t know what to expect of the movie other than the story of this famous race horse… what I got, though, was a movie I want on DVD right NOW. I found a movie that will most definitely be in my top 10 for a long time.

The movie, for me, is one every woman in this world needs to see. Every woman who has dreams. Every woman who has ever been told they can’t do something. Every woman who says, “It can be done.”

The movie is billed at the story of Secretariat, but for me is was more the story of Penny Chenery (played by Diane Lane). Penny Chenery is the owner of Secretariat, trying to garner respect for herself and her horse in what was in the 1970s very much a men’s club.

At one point I whispered to my husband, “Back then, she didn’t have much of a voice.” Women were still too new to business in general to be taken seriously — much less horse racing — but she fought every nay-sayer that came her way. Everyone from her husband to the press to other horse owners.

This movie made me laugh countless times. John Malkovich as trainer Lucien Laurin adds a wonderful comedic quality to the movie while also bringing a touching dramatic story of his own. This movie most definitely made me cry. It made me hold my breath. It made the audience applaud — during the movie and as the credits rolled. I’ve never gone to a movie in which the whole crowd applauded at the end.

As my husband said as we left, this movie is going to be huge… Coming from someone who literally goes to the movies once a year, THIS movie is one to go see. Heck, I might even sneak off sometime and go see it again myself!

I’ve now brought my Secretariat statue in from storage to put on my desk. After this movie, that statue no longer only means, “I love horses.”  It means, “I can beat the odds. I can do anything I set my heart on doing. I can do the impossible.”

*Thank you Disney and BlogHer for this wonderful opportunity and movie!

Starting my day

October 5th, 2010 3 comments

Breakfast. They say its the most important meal of the day.

I have gone through phases in life, though, in which I just skipped that important meal. In high school, I went through a carb-breakfast phase. I found popcorn or potato chips or Frito’s to be perfectly acceptable forms of breakfast. In college, I would be a good two to three hours into my day before I would stop at a snack shop for a bagel or something.

Today, though, I can’t have a good day without getting up and having breakfast. I’ve embraced that important meal.

Every day (except days when I have to go pick up my husband from the bus — those are usually get up, throw on a baseball cap and run out of the door still rubbing sleep out of my eyes), I get up and head straight to the kitchen.

Coffee is hit or miss. Some days I can’t imagine not brewing a pot of coffee. Sometimes, though, that depends on if I get up way earlier than I know my husband wants to get up. We have a coffee grinder, and I hate to wake him by using it on those mornings. Other days, I wrinkle my nose at the coffee pot and reach for either a glass of milk or juice. Sometimes I’m feeling especially rebellious and I’ll reach for a Dr. Pepper.

Then, its generally one of three breakfast options:

– eggs. I grew up hating eggs, but in the last year I’ve started going through a dozen eggs every couple of weeks. Fried or scrambled or sometimes boiled. I’ve found a pleasure in this breakfast item. Scrambled is usually combined with ham or cheese and some salsa. You have to put a splash of milk in your scrambled eggs to really fluff them up.  Fried is over easy. However, I’ve definitely found the quality of egg to be key in this. I hate when the yolk breaks while I’m frying it. The whole point of fried eggs is the buttery, gooey yolk! Fried eggs must always be accompanied by toast with jelly.

– cereal. Who doesn’t love a big bowl of cereal in the morning? What takes you back to childhood faster!? Special K, Cheerios or Total are usually the three brands in our pantry. Occasionally I’ll sneak in some Cinnamon Toast Crunch, though. I always put in way too much milk, but I don’t care. I don’t want dry cereal! I want to be able to drink the milk after, or perhaps use it in my freshly brewed cup of coffee. Seriously, the milk that was used over cinnamon cereal is the best thing ever in a cup of coffee.

–PB&J.  I blame my parents for this one. They’ve been on a peanut butter and jelly for breakfast kick for awhile now, and I totally understand why. Its a wonderful comfort food as you start your day! I alternate between toasting my bread or leaving it soft and squishy. My husband hates my other addition I make to PB&J at times: breakfast meat. He says its gross. I ignore him and do it any way. It’s my one thing I eat that most people probably do find gross, but I say, “Don’t knock it until you try it!”

Oh, sure, some days I sway from these breakfast choices. Pop Tarts find their way into my pantry sometimes. Oatmeal as well. But most of the time, you’ll find me devouring any of these three items within fifteen minutes of rolling out of bed.

So I ask: What’s your favorite breakfast choices?

*Topic idea from NaBloPoMo today.

10 years ago, 10 years ahead

October 4th, 2010 3 comments

Back in July, I read a post in Living in the Moment called Future Unsure. It really resonated with me, and I bookmarked it so I could some day write my own version of that post. Here I am, just over a month from my 30th birthday, and it seems as good a time as any to tackle that post.

Ten years ago, I was a sophomore in college at Temple College. (Yeah, I was a transfer student to Texas A&M, but I bled maroon from birth.) I’d, luckily, already figured out that I didn’t know everything. I used to joke that at 18 I went blonde literally and figuratively. I’d colored my dark blonde/light brown hair to a bright blonde, and around that same time I felt like I went “stupid.”

Perhaps a big part of that was the fact that I had, thanks to exam exemptions through high school, forgotten how to take tests and, beyond that, I had a general “whatever” attitude regarding my grades in school. They wouldn’t transfer as A’s anyway, so why bother?

Herein lies something I’d tell my going-on-20-self: Just because you might not get to keep credit for a job well done, its no excuse to not do your best. Give everything you do your all. If you give everything your all, you’ll always either succeed with greatness or fail miserably, but you’ll be able to solidly stand behind what you did either way. Giving anything only half-yourself, you’ll always wonder if you could have done better. If you could have been the best of the best as opposed to just running with the crowd.

But, as I said, I knew I didn’t know it all, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t think I had it all figured out. See, I knew I would soon be going to Texas A&M and would graduate with a degree in journalism. I also knew I’d some day live in Nashville, TN. I knew I’d one day throw myself towards the dream of writing a book. I got all those things right on the money!

However, I didn’t know my husband yet. I didn’t know I’d be a “musicians widow.” I didn’t know I’d grow disillusioned by the newspaper business. I didn’t know I could actually enjoy working for my parents bookkeeping and tax business. I didn’t know I’d get myself deep in debt. I didn’t know I’d at any point in life feel unsure of myself. I didn’t know I’d end up a cat person. I didn’t know I’d this deeply wish I’d studied photography. I didn’t know that the path I dreamt of could ever change direction and course… and that I’d actually be more than okay with that fact.

With every thing I didn’t know, I’ve learned a lesson and grown. There is one thing I can say for certain: I don’t have a clue what to expect in the next ten years. If I could tell my 20-year-old self another thing, it wouldn’t be all those details I listed. It would simply be: Keep your goals and your dreams alive and chase them with all your might, but know that nothing is guaranteed except for the many twists and turns along the way towards those dreams.

See, at 20, I was career woman extraordinaire. I had a set path that would take me eventually to NYC for a huge journalism career that would eventually wind around down into Nashville… some day. I would live life in power suits, attending big events, rubbing elbows with all the elite people you’d want to meet.

I’ve traded in my power suits for sweats most days, but I keep a healthy selection of business attire for any number of potential meetings or events. I can say I’ve been blessed to still rub elbows with some of the elite people in the music industry. But I tossed NYC off my list of places to live. I’ve realized I’d not be happy there… I’d love to some day visit, but I don’t think it would fit me to live there.

I have a much more down to Earth view of myself. So in the next 10 years, my goals are for us to have a beautiful family, be as debt-free as possible, and to make a solid living with my writing and photography while my husband continues to tickle the ivories for a living. Those are sensible goals and dreams, leaving plenty of opportunity to chase any number of possibilities as they come along the way. Leaving myself room for adventure, learning and growth.

So to my 20 year old self and my 30 year old self: keep the dream, but realize you might not get there along the exact path you think… you’ll get there along the path you’re meant to take, complete with joys, sadness, successes and failures. Embrace that fact, and simply LIVE.

Weekly Winners (Sept. 26 – Oct. 2)

October 3rd, 2010 16 comments

Weekly Winners is a fun little thing bloggers do to showcase some of their favorite photos from the previous week. It is brought to you, me and everyone by the lovely Lotus, aka Sarcastic Mom. Visit her site and find all the participants. See some amazing photos brought to you by bloggers around the world. Leave a little love when you do — its like food for the soul!

Weekly Winners

In my own backyard… I just didn’t have many photo opportunities this week, so I took all of these photos in my backyard. So, I apologize for the over-cat-ification of this entry. ;)

Ready to bloom

Waiting to bloom.


Soaking up the sun rays.


This is one of four feral cats that have adopted us and live in our backyard. Maliboo wants to be tamed it seems, though. He stays within 3 feet of us at all times and seems to adore our indoor cat, but he is just a LITTLE too skittish still to pet. We're getting there. We'd love to catch him and bring him inside someday.


Sweet Bailey is our inside cat, but he loves going outside to get some sun.


Playing with brightness and contrast settings on my cell phone camera.


Again with playing with brighteness and contrast settings. Love the shade of blue it turned the sky.


Close-up of Bailey. He's slowly getting more patient with my camera-wielding ways.


Maliboo lets his curiosity get away with him and comes within inches of me. It took a lot for me to not reach down and pet him.


Honeysuckle, try two. My first attempt at a photo of my honeysuckle ended in my getting soaked. My neighbor was watering his tree just on the other side of the fence. He didn't know I was there and the water stream came over the fence and doused me! Needless to say, I double checked there was no neighbor around when I got THIS shot.

♥ ♥ ♥

Photos taken using a Rokinon DZ1000 or my Droid Incredible.
View all of my photos available on my Flickr stream.

Keep it off the highways

October 2nd, 2010 6 comments

This morning, as my husband and I were on a nice drive through the country, a car started to tailgate us. My husband commented that they needed to back off, and we were frustrated at how they were driving. It’s not like we could do anything on a two lane road with a car in front of us, but still the girl stayed right on our back bumper.

We turned; she turned. We stopped at a stop sign, then went when it was clear. She, however, cruised right through it behind us. We finally opened up to a four-lane and were glad she’d be passing. She didn’t get in any hurry to pass, though. We were slowing down to enter a parking lot when she finally cruised past.

That was when I saw it. Right there in the middle of her back window. A Longhorn sticker.

I have a Former Student sticker for Texas A&M on my back window.


This is not the first time I’ve had a Longhorn tailgate me (which is amusing considering that I’ve never been known to be “slow.”) I’ve had a Longhorn heckle me in bumper to bumper traffic through an open window. When in college, I even had someone try to run me off the road, flashing a horns symbol at me as I tried not to go into the ditch and hit a road sign.

At the heart of it all, these events scare me even more than they anger me.

Seriously, I am the first to say Texas is a good school. I respect the school and the education people get there. The rivalry, for me, generally exists on the field. And as I said in a previous entry, I’ve always viewed that particular rivalry as one that has an undertone of respect (unlike other rivalries).

Sadly, you do have those on both sides that fail to remember that, and therein lies my fear. Its to those people, I plead… no matter what, keep it off the highway. A school rivalry is NOT worth someone’s life — be it you, your rival or an innocent bystander. We all put stickers on our vehicles to personalize them, to show allegiance to our schools, organizations, businesses, politics, etc. They are not there to be used as a target. Don’t tailgate, heckle, cut-off, or try to sideswipe someone because of their school allegiance. That’s dangerous and has potential consequences that are bigger than any rivalry.

So to the young woman who chose to tailgate us on the way home… grow up. We’re not even in Texas. We’re not playing today. I have nothing against you personally. I actually respect your school (just not the actions of people like, well, you.) And, at the end of it all, my vehicle is over twice as big as yours. If you had rear ended us in a sudden stop situation, I would have gotten out of my truck and run over to see if you were okay.

Then (assuming you were) I’d slap you upside the head for hurting my truck. Because, really, that would piss me off. A lot. A lot more than any rivalry. Because seriously… this crap does not belong on the highway. Leave it on the football field. ‘Kay?



Categories: fears, rants, tamu, texas, texas a&m Tags: , , , ,

It’s Boobie-Thon time!!

October 1st, 2010 1 comment

I know. You’re asking your computer screen right now, “Boobie-Thon? What the heck is a Boobie-Thon?”  I know that’s what I asked when I stumbled upon it last October for the first time myself!

I think the site’s mission explains it perfectly:

The Boobie-Thon’s mission is to create a fun and lighthearted event that created awareness and raises money for breast cancer research.

It’s that simple. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Boobie-Thon is a fun way to support the cause of finding a cure for breast cancer.

Did you know*:

  • 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in their life. That’s 12 – 13% of women.
  • In 2010, an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. (along with 1,970 new cases of invasive breast cancer in men). There will also be 54,010 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 39,840 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2010 from breast cancer.
  • About 70-80% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
  • In 2010, there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

*These statistics come from BreastCancer.Org… for more statistics visit here.

Breast cancer statistics have improved over the years, thanks to a greater awareness of the issue. Awareness brought about by events like Boobie-Thon.

There are countless ways to donate towards the cause of breast cancer research. In its 9th year, Boobie-Thon has grown and become quite successful. In the last 8 years, they’ve raised over $64,000 towards breast cancer research. Only in its first day for 2010, they’re already close to raising $1000.

This week-long event is series business, but also a lot of fun. The best part about it is you have several ways to participate in the fun. You can submit a photo of “the girls.” You can blog about it, tweet about it, add a twibbon to your Facebook and Twitter photos, join the Boobie-Thon fan page, and choose any other number of ways to promote the event. As I said, its all in good, (relatively) clean fun. And its for a great cause.

Won’t you join us?