Tuesday, February 24, 2009

'tude tuesday: the thaw

Seems like just last week it was freezing outside - icicles hanging from the rain gutters, slabs of black ice just outside the garage doors. Oh, wait. It was just last week.

Today it was in the mid-60s according to my Google weather, which means those icicles are no more, and the black ice slabs have turned to puddles. Unfortunately, the Bobcat driver who plowed my driveway several weeks ago also scooped up most of the cinders, which means I'm faced with a muddy mess outside. I'm constantly reminding all the kids who are always running in and out of the house to wipe their feet and take off their shoes just inside the door.

But I don't really mind. It's been a long winter, literally, figuratively and in lots of other -ivelys, so dealing with the new mud and racing the running water on the side of the road when I drive feels almost like some kind of absolution. I walked outside the other day and heard the strangest sound that made me look up. It was coming from way up high in a ponderosa, and it was a solitary songbird singing just for me (or at least that's how it felt). I admire its pluck, but hope it doesn't freeze to death when the next storm front moves in. Today my son got a ticket to the Suns game down in Phoenix in a few weeks, and it's about time for me to stock up on crocus and tulip bulbs to plant outside around the base of the windmill. Maybe I'll really get into the Holland theme and wear a pair of wooden clogs while I'm planting.

I've been kidded for my stubborn insistence that spring is just around the corner, and that's (as SNL's Stuart Smalley would say) "okay." "Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and - doggone it - people like me."

I may be the ultimate optimist, or I may be the Queen of Denial. Whatever it takes to keep the 'tude going in these last dog days of winter is just fine with me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

what happens in scottsdale

So, we head down to the Scottsdale All-Arabian show on Friday, and it's great, as usual. Good vendors, lovely fillies and colts:

Some deep quality in the under-saddle classes:

Adorable children in the Leadline classes:

Artery-clogging horse show food (....mmmmm....faLAfel........):

But we soon discovered that our primary raison d'etre at Scottsdale was to be the entourage for a certain celebrity. No, I'm not talking about Brit-Brit. It's someone MUCH more of the moment:
Dude. Seriously? Maiden and I couldn't walk more than ten paces without hearing that telltale "AAAAAAAAWWWWWWIsthataBoxer?Howoldisshe?She'sSOOOOOOOOCUUUUUUUUTE."

Show management was really on top of things this year, too. They apparently knew Belle would be coming down from the high country, because they provided her with her own, private facilities:

It's too bad I'm so prejudiced against pit bulls and that I'm totally impervious to puppy breath and warm puppy bellies. Because here's what faced me the next morning in my hotel room bed:

Hey, Belle? Just remember: What happens in Scottsdale stays in Scottsdale. We can keep this between us, right?

'Cause, you know. I got a rep to protect.

Friday, February 13, 2009

fotog friday the 13th: choices, choices

I'm debating what to wear tomorrow for Valentine's Day. There is, of course, this t-shirt:

And then there's this one:

There's this for background music as Maiden and I escape the icy tundra for the (hopefully) verdant climes of Scottsdale.

And then there's this.

Aw, heck. Who am I kidding? I've always been an optimist.
Bring on the hearts and flowers!

Monday, February 09, 2009

mad snow skillz

The kids and I spent Saturday up at the Arizona Snowbowl, where they got to ski all day while I hung out at the finish line of the USSA sanctioned slalom race hosted by the Flagstaff Alpine Ski & Snowboard Team. We got there first thing in the morning, before the lifts opened:

To be honest, I wasn't terribly crazy about the idea of leaving the lodge:

But one of my former riding students was competing that day, and I've been wanting to see her race for years. Since her mom is a good friend, I was treated to a front row seat at one of the best views imaginable:

It was also a great place to watch the recreational skiers and snowboarders cruising and crashing down the slope that ran perpendicular to the race course:

Not that I'm one to kid anybody about crashing. I'm strictly a blue/green trail gal myself - snowplowing all the way. The racers at Snowbowl were all young'uns, and their talent was extreme:

They reminded me of the little hotdoggers who used to whip past at 50 mph up at Tahoe, just as I was learning to keep my ski tips together in adult ski school:

And that was our Saturday...just another day in Paradise:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

w.o.k. wednesday: pit crews and hugs

When I was a teenager, my older brother built and raced a little stock Datsun. I went to Sears Point track a few times to watch him, and I remember two things vividly: 1) the absolutely insane decibel level of the engines at full throttle, and 2) the perfectly synchronized teams of men and women in the "pits" - worker bees who were ready to tune up, repair and/or patch the exhausted race cars when they pulled off the track between laps.

Now that I'm all growed up, I'm firmly convinced that the Man Upstairs knows when each of us needs a skilled team to keep our engines running and our tires inflated while traveling over the particularly rough/dangerous patches of life's highway. And while we still may get dinged and dented in the process, our pit crews are there to help see us through.

My current crew is top notch. It's made up of women and men who have "been there, done that" where my current circumstances are concerned and who aren't afraid to share the secrets of what got them through. They'll talk with me, laugh with me, cry with me, listen to me b*tch, tell me when to get over myself, cook with me - and, most importantly, tell clean jokes when appropriate and dirty jokes when required.

Then there are the young'uns, who may not know they're part of my pit crew but who inspire me and make me laugh every day regardless: Every once in a while I'll have lunch at my kids' school, and there will inevitably be half a dozen or so kids who will run up and give me hugs. Did I do this as a kid? And, if so, did I have any clue how much I probably boosted the visiting mom's day? It's a shame that society has gotten to the point where adults have to be so careful these days with hugging those kids back, lest it be deemed inappropriate. I remember an uncle who used to visit us from Hawaii when I was little. He always brought a box of chocolate-covered Macadamia nuts, and he always scooped me up in a major hug that squeezed the breath right out of me as soon as he walked in the front door. He was a bear of a man, and he gave true bear hugs.

Some folks don't know they're in my pit crew, but they are. They're in the car with me, like Shakira and Jill. And they're on the screen, like Rowan and Keira (Have you seen The Duchess? - it's awesome).

So, here's a shout-out to my crew. You know who you are, Ladies and Gents, and I hope you know how much I love and appreciate you. You're all definitely at the top of my Whiskers-on-Kittens list.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

'tude tuesday: february feast

Spring is next month! Spring is next month! Spring is next month!

I've been waiting since November to say that, like so many other folks I know scattered hither and yon. Imagine my excitement when it's actually March. Talk about attitude at altitude!

I'm fond of February for several reasons. Not only is it the last full month of winter, but it's the month of Love - of hearts and flowers and Be Mines. And, of course, there's also Mama Love.

It's also the month when the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show hits the Valley of the Sun. I'm looking forward to a little Phoenix fun in just a matter of days now. Scottsdale always presents some great opportunities for shopping (mainly of the window variety in this economy), feasting (horse show falafel...yummmmm), people watching and thawing out. Not to mention the fun of watching all the pretty horses.

Gotta earn the trip, though, so it's back to work for me.

Monday, February 02, 2009

if it's not scottish...

This was my favorite of all the Super Bowl ads yesterday (other than the horsey circus-love one and the tree branch-fetching Clydes, of course) because it gets me Scottish lassie blood a'boilin' just like a good rendition of Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. I'm trying to figure out how to embed videos from Hulu, so if it doesn't show up below, just click here.

I thought Bruce did a great job during the halftime show, though it sounded like his voice was really disappearing during Born to Run. Glory Days rocked. I saw The Boss during his Born in the USA tour eons ago, and it still ranks right up there with one of the best concerts I've seen. Too bad the Cards lost, but that's the breaks.