Friday, December 06, 2013

Critique of The Sound of Music



Curiosity drew me to watch the live TV adaption of the play, Sound of Music last night. I enjoyed it because I went in with an open mind and not expectation of perfection. The performers took on a big challenge. Unlike movies, or even most television shows, there would be no retakes.
Unlike live ‘in the theatre’ plays there was no audience to add energy or sound bites, like laughter, sighs, and applause and because of these limitations, jokes fell flat, songs were not lifted high with clapping. The receiver of the joke could not laugh, as he was to remain serious, and no audience could add the much needed, ‘we get it chuckle’ in the awkward pause. This lack of energy showed in the dialogue scenes the most. The singing voices soared above this obstacle.
Despite the limitations, this playing to an empty studio could not overcome, I found myself cheering on the efforts, and I’ve been surprised at the animosity flung at this troupe for daring to try something new. Since when did Americans become such negative people? This production gave me the chance to form a new appreciation of musical theatre in the comfort of my own home.
In the past, with many musicals, I found myself thinking, “it seems awkward for that character to be bursting into song at such a serious moment”. Even, the movie, Sound of Music, made me feel that way. It may be just me, but it’s something that disrupted the flow in the story more often than I cared for. After this show, I realized I had welcomed each song. They all felt needed and important.
My favorite thing about the whole evening is how in this live TV production, the dialogue cradled the songs, allowed the songs to be the shining moments, the stars of the play. Perhaps, that is what Rogers and Hammerstein meant when they wrote it. It is titled, The Sound of Music. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You Veterans


Outside my French doors, it is a Thank You day. Men and women who have served our country are being honored. Our little town nearby is preparing for the Veteran's Day parade, special speeches will be made throughout the states. I take time to reflect on what this means, to go off into the unknown, to give of yourself to the service of your country, to face bravely situations and people you do not know.

Approaching others in any situation, can be hard. If you were raised like me, you were programmed to not bother your fellow humans, but we have the freedom, defended by the above Armed Forces members, to express ourselves. Today, is a perfect time to take advantage of that freedom.

If, you see an American, who has had the courage to give the gift of service to our county, stop and applaud, say a few words, or buy their drink or meal. Today, let's show we appreciate their courage and be brave enough to say Thank You.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Hawks Soar



Hawks Soar

November on the mountain is filled with yellow ochre, sap green, burnt sienna, and quiet.  The voices of nature touch caress your senses. The voice of hope touches your heart. Wrapped in the blanket of autumn I am able to listen, take a step closer to knowing what it means to be.
A friend has a relative struggling to stay in this world. I have a friend doing the same. I watch as another leaf loosens its hold upon the poplar tree, whose roots cling to the cliff edge. I whisper goodbye. The leaf skitters across the deck, makes a sound, like a little person scurrying to catch the last train leaving from a station.
I shut my mind from that image, and look outward, toward the mountains across the gorge, seeking something to hold onto. The sky is graying, the sun is fading. I am filled with uncertainty.
What will happen to my friend’s relative, what will happen to my friend? I am silent as I hurl this question heavenward.  I lean on the deck rail and will myself to simply be. After awhile, I let go of the questions and stare, nowhere and everywhere.  The scene brings peace to my heart. A sharp keen note splits the silence.
A hawk passes before me. He disappears to the south. I want the bird to circle, unready to let this vision go, but I know that is a selfish wish on my part. He needs to journey on.
November on the mountain is filled with pulsing color and quiet.  November prepares us for winter. And, if you are still, if you can simply be, a hawk soars.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Autumn Sigh

Outside my French doors, evening is settling in with a soft sigh. It matches my feelings. Is it a fine sigh or a troubled one? Perhaps, a bit of both.
I don't enjoy the layers that cooler weather brings. First jackets, then coats, hats, gloves. At times, I get a bit grumpy about the change from bare feet to gloved hands.
Despite that, I like the evening this time of year. Then, I realize that I can't be choosy. It is best to appreciate the beauty of every day, summer, autumn, winter and spring. Life is good in all its cycles, and way too short to be bothered by little irritations.
The cold will come and it will go. Life in one form or another will continue. This thought comforts me. Evening is here. The colors soften in the drift of light over the mountains. The sun will rise after the dark. Have a peace filled end to October, all.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Others Make Me Better

There are things in my life that rattle my sense of well-being, but in reality, my life is very good. This is because others have shown me how to appreciate what I have and to listen to those who see things differently than I do. They have nurtured my dreams, shown me what it means to really care, and how to not be afraid to speak up for equality in all its forms.
Outside my French doors, one of those others is dealing with a real problem. My friend, Chip Greg Anderson has been living with cancer for years. He touched my heart and mind when we first met with his fearless belief in being himself, and he has stayed there. Chip's quirky, brilliant and bold in the art of being alive. He is also human, and suffers. I send him strength this evening.

Chip Anderson

Monday, October 07, 2013

Just a Moment


I try to listen to nature at least a part of every day, but don't like to hear from her in the middle of the night with grumbles, rumbles and a light show. Outside my French doors, she is now all sunshine and beautiful skies. I wonder for a bit, if I should thank her for sending the rain when I was inside anyway, or whine that I'm too tired to thoroughly enjoy the pleasant day I have now. Then, I realize there is something to be thankful for regardless of the little irritations. There is this moment. More greatly appreciated, once I realize she could have reversed things, sent clear skies at night and storms in the AM.
I take this message from Mother Nature and ponder what it means in my life. What is she sharing? Perhaps, it is an example of how different we all can be in how we look at things. There are individuals who grumble and gripe about things, and hold onto their complaints for forever and a day, and miss the good in what's happening in the now. Do I want to be one of those? No.
I will look at the sky, remind myself it's a choice to not enjoy the sunshine, and that no one, including me, should let a person, even ourselves, even congress, dampen a single moment we have been given. For the moment is all we are guaranteed. Thank you, Mother N, for the lesson. Have a moment today, all.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Kash Questions




Outside my French doors, it is perfect riding weather. Cool, but not too cool, sunny and no wind. I decided Fold the Kash and I would take a spin around the farm. It was time to ride out of sight of the barn, the pasture mates, and off into the deep woods that surround our property. I put on my safety vest in case HE decided this wasn't such a good idea.
With a young horse, every new question you ask can produce any number of answers like, No way, let's spin, I'm not taking another step, let's back into the trees, bucking is more fun, and maybe a combination of all. Or, if you're really lucky, the young horse might say, "sure, let's go."
I admit I was nervous. When at home, we haven't gone very far before, as he's better with a buddy and I can't ride two horses at one time. I've played it safe and stayed within his comfort zone, short forays only as far as he'd go without me sensing he was getting nervous.
This doesn't mean he hasn't been asked things and proven he can do them. We've done our away from home work. He now goes well in a group or with just one other horse. Creeks are no problem and steep inclines and drops a piece of cake. Logs are stepped over carefully, ditches, stepped into and out of one foot at a time. He'll jump a small course in a ring. No hidden monsters in the forest for this guy. He takes everything in stride, WHEN he's got a buddy, or knows they are near by.
Today, was the perfect weather for seeking new ground when all alone. I mounted up and off we went. Down the drive and into the woods, back up a trail and past the barn. So far, so good, but soon we'd be at the spot where he has always exhibited a bit of nerves and we'd turn around. Why? Because this horse simply wasn't ready before now. He needed to learn to trust himself and me. It's taken time and now and then, I found myself feeling impatient, but it takes two ready to move forward to make a good horse. Don't ask the question, unless you and he are ready for the answer, has always been my motto.
The question asking spot was coming up fast. I felt butterflies awakening in my stomach and started chattering to Kash, more for me than for him as we moved on. Talking would force me to breathe.
One step, two steps, ten steps, more. We reached "the spot". Eleven steps, twelve. We were past the turn-around point. I asked him to take the left trail and walk down a steep hill.
Head down and a buck and I'd be a goner.
Hmm. Not a flicker of ear, not a quickened step. I asked him to move out.
Kash answered, "Sure, let's go." Onward we went.
This little guy is ready to broaden his horizons, at a nice leisurely pace and with a new sense of self-confidence. It was worth taking the time, like most good things are worth taking the time. I said in the beginning, perfect riding weather. Dang, it's great to be right
Wishing all a Fold the Kash and go kind of afternoon.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Go get 'em Pope Francis

This little bit is for the all encompassing thinkers amongst my friends.
You know, I'm not a catholic, not even very 'organized religion' oriented, but I do believe in a love bigger than our worldly capabilities are able to comprehend. Therefore, I've found the new Pope Francis, a refreshingly brave soul. He isn't afraid to speak of bigger truths/less dogma. Below is a small quote from a recent pi
ece he wrote. All I can say is, "Go, Pope. God is with you."

"This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity."

POPE FRANCIS, in an interview in which he said the Roman Catholic Church had become "obsessed" with gay people, abortion and contraception.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Live Life


Up on the mountain at Donathin, the sky is overcast, but the sun is pushing up to brighten the day. The view makes me think of how big life is, endless memories clouded by feelings, good and bad, and bright possibilities on the horizon encouraging me to dream of the future. It is very apparent that I'm a mere particle in this thing called life.
I sit here, in the moment, my moment, in the middle of living. My heart swells with simply being. Have a "life is huge" kind of day.

Thursday, September 05, 2013


Two short Hunt Reports that don’t do the adrenaline pumping runs justice. To say, “I ride with Green Creek Hounds” has a whole new meaning after today. We love our members.


2013 Labor Day Hunt
Brilliant run on a red fox. This run began along the creek below the Coxe Rd meet. Hounds struck on a line, raced up and across Solem Williams Rd near Nina’s Hunt Box. The huntsman and all three flights followed up from the bottom to the road and then moved down Solem Williams toward Peg’s place listening to the hounds roar in the valley behind Nina’s. The voices indicated the pack was moving toward White Oak Creek.
As they listened and watched, sitting at the corner of Peg’s, a red fox popped out of the far edge of the front field.
All viewers were so entranced by the fox as he ran across the large meadow, that not one person thought to take a picture! The hounds’ voices rolled from the woods and the pack flew into view soon after the fox crossed into the trees on the far side of Solem Williams Road. The pack was dead on the line. The entire field of first, second and third flight, around 30 riders, had a front row seat. No pictures, but plenty of excitement!
Off all went after the pack, back down toward the creek and back across Solem Williams and to ground behind Nina’s. Tot blew Gone to Ground and called it a day. Tally Ho times thirty, as that’s about how many field members viewed!

September 5, 2013,  Hunt at East Green Creek
Today, our Second Flight moved themselves up a notch and earned a new moniker, Second-First Flight. This was on an adventuresome run after a coyote. Charlie Erthal viewed first, not ten minutes into the hunt. Tot brought the hounds to the view and cast them. Off they went, voices strong into the deep woods. They circled about with all three flights in pursuit. The strong chase led up to the high point of that fixture.

There, Ron Piccari viewed the coyote crossing the forbidden field with the pack only about fifteen seconds behind. First and Second Flights were right there in the chase. At this time, third flight decided to call it a day and headed back toward the trailers.

The other two flights crossed a difficult creek, took a four-foot bank, and a very steep hillside, all in short order, to stay right with the Huntsman. Riders grabbed mane as the horses lunged up the slope and raced on. The run ended in the cattle field near our old East Green Creek II fixture.

Once they stopped, MFH, Kem Ketcham looked around and grinned. He was as excited about all the riders making it through the tough terrain as he was about the wonderful hound work.

The participants had a heart galloping good time and both flights will be talking about their awesome riding for years. It will be one of those, “Remember the Day” hunts, and they will smile just thinking about it. Both First and Second-First earned bragging rights.

Tally Ho and away we go!
See you Sunday at the Vineyard.
The Masters
Note: Because of throwing a shoe, most of the report from Sept 5, was told to this reporter after the hunt at the Stanley Circle. Listening to the hounds, and then so many excited voices, each telling the same great story, was like being along for the ride.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

US Postal

Outside my French doors, danger lurks. Therefore, I'm off to the mountain for some writing and unwinding time after almost getting hit by a mail delivery lady on my own driveway.

She's been warned before, many times, to go slow on the blind curves because of horses and kids, but refuses to slow down to a speed that let's one see around the curves and still be able to stop at a safe distance. She was delivering to a lady who has a right of way off our drive. We don't mind the mail being delivered to the woman, she has trouble getting the mail at the end of the drive by the road, but, we do mind the postal driver treating our drive like a regular roadway.

Luckily, my horse didn't shy as she slammed to a halt less than 2 feet from my horse's, nose.  She actually yelled at me for being on our own drive. Went a bit postal, spouting she had a right to drive at the speed she wanted, and my horse shouldn't have been there. And, then jumped on me again on her way out the drive after delivery.

I complained at the local post office. Hope they do something, because it's just a matter of time before she hits another car, a horse, or a person. I doubt the US Postal Service http://faq.usps.com/adaptivedesktop/faq.jsp?ef=USPSFAQ&dest=EmailUs wants to deal with the consequences of that. Have a safe afternoon all.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Weather or Not


At 6AM, outside my French doors, the moon smiled, a tight-lipped sliver in the darkness. By 6:30 dawn showed the blush of a newborn day. At 7AM, bright white on the Eastern horizon announced the sun was here to stay and I prepared for an outside day.

No wait, it is  now 7:40 and rain dashes about as grey skies advance from the North. Mother Nature sure likes to keep our attention on her. Good thing, horses are in, feeding is done. I will sit back with a cup of tea and watch her show in hopes that will appease her. At 10:30, I have to take my Mother's cat to the vet for a rabies shot. 

The little cat excursion will create a storm of its own without added attractions. I can see it now,  Mother Nature tossing in lightning bolts, and rumbling, Me, Me, Me, to get my attention. I hope I'm wrong.

Have a great, unpredictable day, all.

Friday, August 30, 2013

McGyver


Outside my French doors, our Shepherd paces the length of the brick walkway, anxious, back and forth, back and forth. He's never quite sure where he should be when one of us is gone and one of us is in the house. His eyes hone in on mine. I can see the words behind them, "Do I come in and guard you, or do I stay here and watch for his return? He sighs and returns to pacing.
Such loyalty, such caring, he exhibits. I was lucky that day nine years ago, at Foothills Humane Society-Polk County, when a gangly pup came barreling from the outside run to inside my heart. Time for me to show I care. The bench on the front porch will be a good place to read and for him to lie by my side as we wait for Bob. Have a loving evening, all.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Child Play


Outside my French doors sits Summer. It's my favorite time of the year and right now Miss Summer is showing her gentle, sunny side, a perfect day. I want to go lounge in a chair under a shade tree and get lost in a good book, or run barefoot through the grass chasing butterflies.
I want the memory of childhood, the feeling of endless hours exploring the world, from morning until twilight when the fireflies come to signal  night is near. I remember dragging out the hose as a kid and skipping through the sprinkler. It is time to slip through my French doors to do something summery as an adult.
Instead of stepping back in time, I chose to clean my horse trailer, without the aid of a power washer, and visualize water spraying over me as I wet things down. It will be a mature way of recapturing a childhood moment, I think.
It is not right to turn a kid's memory into a something it is not meant to be. Crappy horse trailer, splashing water and me, do not equal fun. I turn off the water, job done, and drip my way back to the house. 
Lesson learned: Being an adult can take all the fun out of playing in the hose. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Night and Day


Outside my French doors, I can't see a thing. Dark hides the stars, and the enticing shadows I normally see cast by the light of the moon. Disappointment blackens my mood, but then, I think of the day that has passed. Rain, clouds, sun, teased me with possibilities. It's easy to see in the light of day.
I chose to go to the mountain and write. Words came in bursts, changing with the movement of the weather. In the daylight, I could see the beginnings and the endings of ideas. It was possible to make a plan, and  plot a course.
In the night,  the beginning seems hidden, as does the end. It is a world of dreams, true adventures of the mind kind. As my vision adapts to the blackness of the evening, I begin to see. I realize, sometimes, in the darkest moment one can see the clearest.
Day and night combined can a moment in a life make, but also a lifetime can be realized in a moment. This concept hides in the ink of evening, eludes me in the darkness, yet I know there is something out there waiting for me to grasp its goodness and meaning. There is a reason for this night of no moon, no stars. Outside my French doors there is life waiting to be discovered.

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Am Animal

Most of my day was spent inside and by late in the afternoon I realized I was feeling a bit down. It hit me, I am an animal at heart. Life without being outside, is not living, it is existence, lacking the color, taste, and feel of being alive. I need fresh air on my skin to breathe, the sight of the sky to see, the brush of plant life to feel. It's simple, and such a wonderful thing, knowing what makes your heart sing. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Tiny Bird Brains

Outside my French doors, life is full of surprises. Today, I went hunting with Green Creek Hounds. I was surprised, though I don't know why, that so many came after the night's/early morning rain. GCH has true fox hunting diehards as members. We had a blast and lingered afterwards, sharing snacks and stories.
Back at the farm as I was unloading my horse, I heard baby birds chirping. I looked up at the trees high above, over at the barn edges and could not find a nest. The babies sounded near, like they were in the trailer. I peered inside, though since I keep the trailer shut tight when not using it I couldn't imagine they'd be in there. They weren't. I was beginning to think I was developing a new form of ringing in the ears.
Using my not-so-keen hearing I crept around the trailer. I felt a bit silly, until, lo and behold, I found the nest in a most unlikely spot. Some silly momma made a nest behind the spare tire attached to the side of the trailer!
This is a trailer I use often, so those little puffballs have been traveling since they were laid. I can hear the babies, see part of the nest, but not all. The babies are not visible, but they are loud. I parked the trailer back in its spot and crossed my fingers.
I hope mom didn't have a heart attack while the kids were out cruising. The little peeps have quite a tale to relay to her. And, I imagine they lives are ruined. They will be speed freaks and not understand why they can't fly as fast as their mobile home. I can hear them now cheeping to each other. I'm sure they are saying, "Momma must be a real birdbrain."


But, not as crazy as this hummingbird, who stopped to read my husband's notepad!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Outside my French doors, summertime is back! No rain, no gloomy sky, simply sunshine and butterflies. I wonder if butterflies emerge from their cocoons, blink, stretch, and suddenly finding they are flying, hold their breath in delight at the metamorphous?
I wonder that about people, too, those who make hard choices and change things about themselves, then suddenly find their life is better, that they are soaring above all the negatives that had kept them anchored, do they hold their breath until they trust the new person they have become? I hope, if they do, it's not for long. Each breath is too precious to hold in. I hope they exhale with joy. I wonder about myself, the things that hold me down, then I glance again at the day awaiting me.
I stop pondering and imagine bare feet, cut-offs, and hair spun up out of the heat. Then, I make it happen. My own version of a summer metamorphous over, I open my French doors and step out to explore this spread your wings kind of day. Let's go fly!

Friday, July 05, 2013

Thorns Amongst the Berries


Outside my French doors it is berry season. There are wild raspberries on the mountain, blueberries on the farm, juicy little gifts from Mother Nature waiting to be picked and savored.
Blueberries are sweetest when I only take the ones that fall into my hand with the gentlest tug. I like to thank the kind bushes for making my job easy and try not to be greedy. They are generous shrubs and I enjoy the moments I spend in their midst. I am always reminded of the authentic givers amongst those people I know when picking blueberries.
Wild raspberry bushes are prickly misers. They guard their fruit, not wanting to share. It takes a keen eye and careful hand to deal with them. The little ruby colored gems they offer are often accompanied by pain. I do not spend much time in their company, despite the sweetness they promise.
I understand the bushes have thorns as a survival tactic. They are protecting their continuance in the world. Some people feel a need for thorns, too. But, I always wonder, why can't they be like blueberries, and survive without inflicting pain?
This is the time of year to savor the sweet and understand life a bit better. Some of life can be approached with an open hand and heart, some is better handled with an awareness of boundaries despite its attributes. I hope all enjoy the sweetness and avoid the thorns.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Traveling Home


Outside my French doors the noon of summer shimmers in the air. Animals lull in the shade of century old oaks. Sweat darkens the horses sides. Moisture from last night's rain is no more than a heavy memory.
I cast my gaze upward, where I will be soon seated in a 21st century jet headed to Chicago. It makes me thinkof frying eggs on a sidewalk while people hurry from one air conditioned building to another. High energy sparks from women's heels, and heat wets the back of shirt and tie men.

My heartbeat rises, then settles as a slight breeze tickles the honeysuckle. I listen to the silence that surrounds me. My daughter will surround me with love while I am in the city. It will be fun, and in five days, I will come back to the Foothills of North Carolina. I breathe deep, absorbing home before I leave.
Have a nice weekend, all, wherever you may be.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Trusting Kash


Kash and I had a nice ride today. He remained steady on the slippery ground and tolerated a furious attack of horseflies. We also had our first test of horse trusting rider. A small creek crossing had Kash at a standstill, feet planted, eyes large with fear of the mysterious bottom. I do not ride with spurs on Kash, as he is young and I want his training to be one of memories of team work not pain. I asked him to go forward over the water. He gave me one of his big eyes looks as if he was saying, "You've got to be kidding."

I kicked. He stood. It was time to muster my courage and be the boss. If I were to be the rider he needs, I could not retreat. I kicked his sides, again. He stood. This was make it or break it (me, when he realized he could refuse my bidding and explode) time. I could not fail him and I prayed our months of working on trust would mean he would not fail me.

I used my best "do what I say" voice and ordered him to move forward. HE DID!

Over the creek and onward to being a full partner in the world of horse and human he went. He moved with great energy after the crossing, exhaling all his pent-up anxiety, as did I.

We moved a stride closer to being better in both our lives today. I am so very proud of this young horse for overcoming many things and learning to be all he can be.
Hope you had a good day, too, all.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Almost Ireland

From lime to deep forest, the greens have taken over the landscape outside my French doors. It's almost Ireland, except Ireland has fewer trees. Squirrels bounce from limb to limb scattering leftover raindrops from yesterday. The horses are munching on breakfast and the dogs are restless to play. My gaze wanders over our land and I soak up the happiness if gives me. They say green is good for you, don't they? Light pierces the deep foliage and kisses my cheek. I listen to my husband's footsteps moving toward me. It's going to be a bright, bright sunshiny day. Enjoy.