Monthly Archives: January 2011

First Event, 2011

I’m getting ready for my first trip of the year, the January Poplar Place Horse Trials.  This is typically a small event, but the region has gotten smacked with a lot of ice and some snow recently.  Few people south of Tennessee have long underwear or indoor arenas so the roads, the rings, and the riders are still in recovery.

Poplar in January is typically a small show.  About 70 entries are listed – who knows how many will actually make it there… I hear more ice is stalking around this evening.  Saturday will be easy going and long, but Sunday is quick and painless with just three hours of cross-country before we head home.  I’ll be taking photos of competitors and snagging some interviews, but I expect it to be a relaxing and fun show, perfect to get back into the swing of things.

Photo: Peter Atkins and Land’s End at Poplar Place March 2010


How do you eat an elephant sandwich?

I tend to make tentative goals for a new year rather than resolutions.  Goals can take a while and depend on multiple factors, but with resolutions you’re kind of expected to get a move on, else you’ll miss the deadline and have to make a new resolution (or the same one as before).

In January 2010, I had just officially graduated from Alabama and I’d already watched several semesters worth of recent graduates drop like poisoned flies to the basement level of the job-market.  So my goals were modest.

My first goal for 2010 was kind of forced.  I had to make the switch to digital photography (the photo above was taken on my old Nikon N5005).  It was a painful transition at first, especially when the next month’s rent rolled around, but I’ve become rather attached.  I even managed to get my website built this year, despite still having a few outstanding ransoms with Internet Explorer.  I also bought my first batch of business cards and promptly gave them away to the first 50 people I laid eyes on, which probably wasn’t very productive. (Below: that’s Usher from the Harris County Humane Society.  His sweet face graces some of my business cards.  He still needs a home, too!)

2011 will be an interesting year.  For some reason I’m itching to try my hand at fashion photography.  For those who know me I have terrible fashion sense myself, but I wouldn’t object to working with human models who can take direction.  I need experience in Portraits, and my dear cousin asked me to do his senior pictures this year, so there’s that.  Oh and I should order more business cards.

Besides these personal endeavors, keep your eyes peeled for my work in a few places.  I’m excited about print journalism this year, which was my focus and interest in college.  Just this month, I began working as the US Correspondent for Eventing,  a monthly magazine in Great Britain.  I’ll be continuing my work with the USEA this year, helping to produce Eventing USA, which has gone from six annual issues to ten, as well as event reports and various things for the blog.  I still manage and post the content for Eventing Nation‘s classified site, Sport Horse Nation.  I’m excited to assist Mark Lehner at a few horse trials this spring, too.  Last but not least, Mental_Floss continues to be very good to me, and I love, love working with such a smart, fun magazine and all the people responsible.

The Menagerie had a tough go last year.  The string we adopted while I was in grade school are showing their age.  Mum (with help from Father Valium) brought Joan back from Death’s door.  Her doublemint twin, Jennie, is healthy but arthritic.  Invisible demons still chase Joy around the house, but in her old age she is less nervous about getting attention from Mum and me.  Itty-Bitty and Plumpy are the youngest cats, about 6 and 7, and they hate one another’s guts.

Mum asked me to take photos of the youngest dog, “B”, recently.  It was impossible!  He’s deaf as a post.  John has begun showing his age only in the last several months.  His thick coat is very gray, and he tends to forget why he’s begun barking in the first place so he keeps at it until someone fusses at him.  And then there is dear Joey.  He’s stiff as rails, and the bone cancer they found in his head at Thanksgiving has spread beyond repair.  For now, he is still bright and happy, still Joey. (Right: Joey at Thanksgiving.  Below: My handsome Sam is happy to be home.)

The horses have given us the most grief lately.  Sam’s feet deteriorated to a frightening condition last summer when he was temporarily moved to a new barn.  He’s home with Mum now.  The healing process is long, but the potential is good for a full recovery.  Oh and he developed severe allergies and had to begin a shot regimen.  Ay yi yi.  And Gamble.  That damn horse.  He coliced multiple times before Mom was finally forced to drive him to Auburn for surgery.  Of course he acted like he might behave during the first several days of stall rest, but once the belly band came off and he got a small taste of freedom, his linebacker attitude revealed itself again.

Here at my home, Dexter is mischievous as ever.

So remember, Friends, as you charge into the headwind of the new year, the only way to eat an elephant sandwich is one bite at a time.  And may your troubles last as long as a New Year’s resolution.