Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

I hope you were able to spend the day relaxing with friends and family and took a moment to remember those you've lost, and especially those who have served our country.

I celebrated this year with a road trip to Asheville, NC (more on that tomorrow) and as I drove I listened to Sirius Radio's Highway Country station.  I started listening because Country seem the appropriate type of music for my trip, but I kept listening because of a great program they had going to honor the military men and women.  They invited people all over the country to call in and honor their friends and family who have served.  I loved hearing the stories they told and I loved the great songs Sirius played after each message.

One of my favorite songs was unexpected, a song I'd never heard before, from an artist I've heard of but never spent much time listening too.  However I found myself in tears by the time it was over and decided it was the song I'd share today - David Ball's "Riding with Private Malone."  it is a story song - something that country music was built on, but you don't hear as much anymore.  

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Friday, May 28, 2010

In the neighborhood

Over the weekend I had some meetings at the main office, and I finally remembered to take my camera with me so I could get a couple of pictures of the surrounding area.  It was a perfect day - bright blue sky, grass that has seen recent rain so it was bright and vibrant.  The horses were out enjoying the day.

I hope I never get used to driving through this amazing part of the country, I hope I always remember to look around and take in the beauty of this place I'm lucky enough to call home for a few months.

In the same area there is a tiny rock church that makes me smile every time I drive past.  It is meticulously maintained and oh, so beautiful.

In honor of the lovely blue sky that allowed me to collect these photos, here's Joshua Radin & Ingrid Michaelson's "Sky"

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Deep Thoughts

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

During my teenage years my favorite movie was "Sabrina" I loved the idea that an ugly duckling could run away to a foreign land, find herself and become the beautiful swan that all the boys fell in love with.  

It's taken me years and a few escapes to new places in search of myself, to realize how true Mr. Shaw's quote is - life doesn't magically change and improve become of something you find - it changes because of the steps taken every day to become the best possible person.  

I still have a long way to go in my journey, but it feels good to know I'm firmly in control and am not waiting for the fates to guide me in the right direction.

While this is a beautiful song - I'm happy to say that I'm not waiting for my life to begin - I'm living it.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Pray for You

This song and video made me smile through a couple of tough days last week.  Listen to at least the first minute - trust me you'll get at least a grin out of it.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update and Thanks

Thanks for all of your help and encouragement in my online dating project.  I've updated my profile and can already see a difference in the type of guys I'm finding - so thanks.

Now I just have to figure out how to successfully navigate the rest of this very scary (for me at least) endeavor.

I subscribe to a great blog:  Smart, Pretty and Awkward which basically posts daily tips on how to be smarter, prettier and (less) awkward.  It's one of those quick read blogs that usually leaves me with something to think about.  One item this week on how to be less awkward particularly hit home:

Every old sock has an old shoe, and everybody has someone out there for them to fall in love with. Every person. It might take longer or shorter to find the other person than you had originally planned and the person might not look exactly like the wishlist you thought you wanted, but the correct someone for you is out there. I promise.

So, I'm taking your advice and encouragement, giving it my all and leaving the rest up to faith/fate.

Instead of having a list of the things I want in a guy, I have a list of songs that describe the type of relationship I dream of - here is one of my favorites - Little Big Town's "Bring it on Home"

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Monday, May 24, 2010


Friday at work we decided to order in from a new restaurant.  Someone collected the order and I got busy with a project.  I soon hear the food had arrived so I made my way to the break room only to discover it had been decorated with birthday banners and a beautiful cake.  I turned and asked whose birthday it was and feeling very guilty that I hadn't known and at least gotten a card.  Then I realized they were singing happy birthday to me.  Except the surprise was on them since my birthday isn't for several months.

Turns out a co-worker in another area thought she saw that my birthday was Sunday on Facebook.  She called someone on my team late Thursday night to make sure they knew so they could do something.  The team did some mad scrambling Thursday night/Friday morning to pull a celebration together.  I feel very honored and very much enjoyed my non-birthday celebration.  The entire team had such a good time laughing about it that we've decided to keep on celebrating non-birthdays.  After all, any excuse for cake.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

RIP Lost

Thank you for six amazing, mind-blowing years and for a perfect finale.  I'll miss you.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Ever so fitting

Its been a particularly hectic week or two at work, full of long and stressful days.  I spent the second night in a row in the office (missing my workout) trying frantically to get a critical communication out and since nearly everyone was out of the office I switched my iPod from its usually workday mix (read mellow and quiet) to a rock mix, hoping the driving beat would help me get things done more quickly.

My method was working, I was singing and typing along and then I caught on to the lyrics I was singing:

There’s too much work and I’m spent
There’s too much pressure and I'm bent
I got no time to move ahead
Have you heard one thing that I’ve said

And all these little things in life they all create this haze
There’s too many things to get done, and I’m running out of days

There are times my iPod knows just what to do to make me smile.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cheap Color

Last week I moved with the team in Lexington to a new office - and its possible I'll be working here until the end of October - practically forever for me.  Everyone in the team started bringing in a few items from home to decorate and make their offices a little more pleasant.  I wanted to do the same, except I don't have much at my apartment here in Lexington that could be brought.  I decided it was time to stretch my creative muscles.

I started with a couple of turquoise table clothes I brought home from Delhi that I had used to decorate my bedroom there.  Next came a few items from Target's Liberty of London line - some folders and a pretty pillow, I also nabbed a bright pink lamp on sale for $14.

Next up I hit Goodwill and found some cheap picture frames and a mirror (the entire set was under $10) add in a couple cans of spray paint and I had some colorful art for the wall.  I finished things off with a silk art print I picked up in Thailand last month, a lamp I found on super clearance at Homegoods and some silver boxes a friend in India gave me.

I'm loving my cheap and colorful office and have been enjoying this week while listening to Griffin House - a new discovery thanks to a recommendation from Katie C.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Fence to Lean On

I'm guessing when most people envision Kentucky's Horse Country they see rolling acres of green surrounded by white fences.  What you don't realize until you spend some time here is that in addition to those wooden fence (which, now, all to often are black) is that Central Kentucky is covered by rock fences.

These rock fences, made of slabs of limestone, were originally crafted by Irish and Scottish masons.  The fences, also called dry stone fences, were laid with no mortar, and yet many have lasted for generations.

The past couple of decades there has been a movement here to restores some of the crumbling fences, including bringing Irish and Scottish masons to Kentucky to teach a new generation of artisans how to build and maintain the fences.

I love driving past these fences on my way to work - they remind me of a time when things were built to last.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Taking a Leap

I don't imagine it is a surprise to anyone reading this blog that I am single - the thing is, I wouldn't mind changing my single status, so I've decided to enter the scary world of online dating.  What's even scarier is that I'm admitting it here.  I'd be more embarrassed, but really, how else can a 30-something who doesn't do the bar scene meet a guy?

Here's my problem, my profile needs some work, it just doesn't do a good job of representing who I am or what I'm searching for so I need your help.  You are my friends and family, you know me best, so what qualities or characteristics should be included in my profile.  I want it to be honest - so I attract the right type of guys, but lets face it, online dating is all about marketing yourself so I also want it to highlight the best of me - and the things that make me stand out from the crowd.

I'd really like your ideas - figuring this out on my own isn't working.  Send me an email or give me some ideas in the comments - I'll owe you one.

Because this post is all about me - I thought I'd post a song that I love - and that talks about the confusion of finding and keeping love, so here's a little Alexi Murdoch with "Shine."

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Little White Church


I used to think you had to travel to Europe to see great old churches - but I may have to rethink that attitude if I keep finding more amazing little churches like this one.  They may not be as massive or architecturally significant as those in Europe but they have every bit as much charm.

If I didn't have my heart on marrying here (some day) this is exactly the type of church I'd seek out.  Its the perfect size for an intimate little wedding.

The first song that came to mind was the old Shenandoah "Meet Me at the Church on Cumberland Road" - but thought I'd go a bit more modern - and you know me, any excuse for a little Avett Brothers. Pin It

A Visit to the Arboretum

Last Sunday I was feeling a bit restless - so after church I decided to go to the arboretum for walk instead of going straight home as I usually do.  Luckily I had my camera with me.  The flowers are still just starting to bloom, but I can tell it is going to be fabulous in the next few weeks.

My favorite was the rose garden - I felt so close to the women in my life as I walked through it.  The yellow roses reminded me of my mom and Grandma M who both loved yellow roses.  The entire rose garden reminded me of my Grandma S who took such great pride in her rose garden.  There were even lovely lilac bushes to remind me of my great-grandma S who had huge, sweet smelling lilac bushes in her backyard.

How lucky I've been to grow up surrounded by women who not only love filling their lives and home with flowers - but who are willing to do the work to keep them growing and beautiful.  They all would have loved to walk through the arboretum with me.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

It's all in the details

You'd think by now I would have run out of photos to share from my visit to the Shaker Village - but I saved some of the best for last - all the little details that make this such a fun place to visit.  If you are familiar with Shaker furniture you know its beauty comes from its simplicity, workmanship and functionality.  Just like the furniture, the details that make up Pleasant Hill are beautiful in their simplicity.

Small dolls made from straw

A rack of drying herbs from the gardens

Street lights

An old sign

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

No Wasted Time

I'll admit, before my trip to Shaker Village I knew very little about the Shakers - with the possible exception of their reputation for well-crafted furniture.  I enjoyed learning more about this interesting group and I loved seeing the live craft demonstrations.  My favorite stop was the weaving room where I saw women spinning wool into thread in the first room and in the second a woman using a loom to turn that tread into fabric - how glad I am these arts aren't being lost.

Woodworking - this artisan is retired and comes to Pleasant Hill in the summer

This broom maker is a retired postal worker

This woman was working on a weaving of her own design -
she moves 4 foot pedals, to bobbins and the bar to weave the fabric

Can you tell I'm experimenting with Photoshop?

In the Shaker community everyone worked for the benefit of the community.  They rotated tasks so that no one felt their job was more important than any other.  From the elders and eldresses (how cool is that word) everyone took their turn weaving, cooking and doing laundry (or for the men woodworking, gardening and caring for the animals) - they worked hard and believed that work was part of their worship.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Animals of Shaker Hill

The animals at Shaker Hill were hilarious - I kid you not - they pose for photos.  Anytime I'd start to walk over to them they would either walk closer to me, turn their head so I'd get their good side or stick their face between the fence rails so I could get a good snap.

I do believe he is sticking his tongue out at me.

Not an actual animal, but this teddy bear sat on this bench for hours.
I have a feeling some poor kid is without his sleeping buddy tonight.

I stopped to talk to one of the animal handlers and he told me they figured these animals had been photographed more than the winner of last week's Kentucky Derby - I think he's probably right.

Leo - if you are reading this here's my note to you.  The cows in these photos are what cows should look like - round and well fed, not like those skinny cows we see in Delhi.

I'm loving Ryan Bingham these days - here's hoping you will too.
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The view from our office right now - we've checked there are no tornado warnings in the area - but man those clouds look ominous.  Good thing I like storms.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

My Saturday destination was the restored Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill about 35 minutes outside of Lexington.  What a wonderful change of pace.  There are more than a dozen restored buildings on the property full of beautiful Shaker furniture, live demonstrations and helpful guides willing to answer any question.

I loved stepping away from the noise and hustle of the city (even a city as small as Lexington can get loud at times) into the peace of this quaint village.  That these buildings still stand in such pristine condition is a testament to the care that went into their building and maintenance.

I wandered into a vocal concert in one of the buildings.  Before the performer sang her last number -"Simple Gifts," a traditional Shaker song which has been used in Broadway shows, recorded by many artists and even used in President Obama's inauguration - she explained that the simple in the lyrics doesn't refer to plain, but rather humble.  The Shakers put a premium on staying humble and dedicating their lives and work to God.

I found a beautiful version of this song by Jewel - truth that you really can find nearly everything on YouTube.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Getting Out of Town

Last Monday I decided that I needed to get out of town and into the country for a breath of fresh air.  I pulled out the maps and plotted out an easy road trip.  Thoughts of my escape got me through a crazy busy week.

Saturday, I grabbed my camera, some amazing new music (Court Yard Hounds), and got in my bright red Dodge Charger and hit the open road - with only a small delay to have a tire patched.  I was outside the city limits by the time noon rolled around headed to see something new.

Even before I got to my destination (Pleasant Hill) I found myself pulling over to capture a few photos.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

(With my parents, Mother's Day, 1976)

Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing mothers in my life - but especially to my mom.

"There is, in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the darkest hours of adversity." - Irving Washington

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Friday, May 7, 2010


300 - that is a huge number - especially when it refers to blog posts.  Its hard for me to believe but this is somehow my 300th post - I was honestly surprised when I made it to 100, and lets be honest, by the time I was at 200 things were slowing down and I thought the blog was going to die a slow death.  Instead I got my blogging mojo back - thanks to Andrea's goal of a blog post every day in the month of February which inspired me to get to work.  And now here it is my 300th post.  It's taken almost 2 1/2 years to get here - but I love blogging now more than I did when I started.

I have connected with some great people through this blog who I never would have come across in real life and thanks the surprising number of real life friends and family members who also blog I am closer to them than I ever thought possible.  I love that through this habit of sitting down at the computer and sharing I know my cousins better, I know what my friends are doing in their jobs/lives, I know how their kids are growing, I get to share milestones in their lives, I'm able to share some of the places I visit - and in some ways I feel I have a group of free therapists who listen to the (sometimes) confused ramblings of my mind and are kind enough to write back and let me know I'm not alone.  I have a creative outlet and a reason (excuse) for spending countless hours listening to music to discover those songs that move me.

So, a big thanks to all of you who take the time to read my posts and, for those of you who comment, a double thanks, I never would have made it to 300 posts without your encouragement.

I thought I'd go back to where I started - with the song from my very first post.  A song, I'm glad to say still ranks up there with my all-time favorites - and still seems to apply to me and the way I live my life.

Dixie Chicks
"The Long Way Around"
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Thursday, May 6, 2010


Is anyone else confused about what the national media seems to be ignoring the devastation caused by flooding in Tennessee and other surrounding states (including Kentucky?)  I'm struggling to understand why this isn't a larger national story.  Schools here in Kentucky have been closed for days and homes have been evacuated since the weekend and I know in comparison to what is happening in Nashville and the surround areas we have it good.

Here's hoping the media will pick this story up soon - mostly because there is a large and growing need for help.  The US came together and sent donations through the Red Cross to Haiti - here's hoping we will do the same for our own.

For me, Nashville is home to music I love - so picking a single song to go here isn't easy - but going classic with Johnny Cash seems to be appropriate; and while I love his classic stuff, his version of "Hurt" is one of those songs (and videos) that stay with you forever.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

An Artist

A little over a year ago I participated in a swap set up by a fellow blogger.  I was matched with the most lovely girl - Maegan.  She a mother of three beautiful girls, an artist and an inspiration.  When I first started following her blog she had a shop selling the most amazing soaps and other bath products.  These soaps smell so good I take them to India with me to put in my drawers so my clothes at least start the day smelling yummy.  Over the year or so I've followed her blog I've discovered she has a way with words and photos - her photos are INCREDIBLE.  She has a gift for making the world look dreamy and beautiful.

I was thrilled this weekend when she finally launched a site selling her photos - mostly because I've been dying to have a piece of her artwork hanging in my home.  I'm proud to say my very own Madeline Bea is on its way to Lexington - I can't wait to see it in person.  If you are looking for a unique piece of art for your house, check out her etsy shop - you'll fall in love too.  And, as a bonus during her launch Maegan's having a buy one, get one free special - get over there while it lasts.

Congratulations Maegan!

Here's a couple of dreamy singers, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Allison Krauss, singing a dreamy song, "I Was a Bird" to go along with Maegan's dreamy photos.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Age of Miracles

One of my favorite artists put out a new album last week - Mary Chapin Carpenter. Her songs so often feel like they were written just for me; that she was able to get inside of my head and take the thoughts and turn them into these amazing songs whose lyrics not only define, but inspire me.

Most people know Mary Chapin Carpenter for her work in the early 1990's, songs like "Passionate Kisses" and "I Feel Lucky" I love those songs too - but it is really her later work that I find myself going back to over and over again.

This week's release is no different - how many artists can write a song from the point of few of one of the members of the Chinese military at Tiananmen Square and make you see the event from a completely new view this many years later.

MCC isn't an artist you are going to hear on the radio - but if you take the time to search out her work, you'll never be sorry.

Here is a cut from her new album "The Age of Miracles."

"I Have a Need for Solitude"
Mary Chapin Carpenter
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Monday, May 3, 2010


If you've watched the news you know a big part of the US got soaked over the weekend - and Lexington got its fair share.

Saturday I needed to run a few errands, so I put on the new rain boots I bought last week so I could muck around in the mud at the horse park and gave them another work out.  My boots and I got the grocery shopping and done and headed home.  As I turned a corner I felt the car hydroplane and skid back and forth in the two lanes.  Luckily there weren't any cars near by, so aside from a pounding heart all was good.

This experience, however, did make me want to stay out of the rain and off of the roads the rest of the weekend; so rather than the weekend I'd planned I stuck a lot closer to home.  I'm am determined to explore this part of the US - but the weather seems to be against me.  My first visit here it seemed to snow every weekend - this visit - heavy rain seems to be the story.  Hopefully next weekend I'll see a bit of sun and I can get out of town.  In the meantime, here's hoping everyone affected by the floods is okay.

I thought I'd used up all of my rain songs last week - but I found a great new one over the weekend - so here is Shiny Toy Guns with "Rainy Monday."

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