Thermal

Standard

“The teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons, and the true teacher is the learner.” ~ Elbert Hubbard


Image

Lessons in riding, photography and life.  The child had a wonderful experience during her three weeks in the desert.  She did her job in moving the pony named Mickey along to his next adventure, she entered the jumper ring for the first time with great success on a horse named Heid-n-Seek; and, she got back together with her best friend, Charly, who, together went on to great things in the hunter ring.  I am not sure what she would say was the highlight of her time in the desert.  Possibly winning on Charly, maybe successfully completing her first jumper course, or, perhaps simply being in the same warm up ring with US Olympian, Rich Fellers and Flexible.

The photographer “borrowed” a lens for the second half of the adventure…  borrowedlens.com is my new favorite hangout.  I’m one of the lucky photographers that lives within 5 miles of this little golden nugget, allowing me on a moments notice to go in and grab whatever new and exciting piece of equipment I need or just want to have for a play date.

The shooting was phenomenal.  The desert landscape was extraordinary with the first weekend blasting us with winter like conditions.  This winter storm resulted in snowfall on the nearby San Jacinto Mountains which created breathtaking views from the jumper rings.  Down jackets and snow gear were required.  Two days later, the temps rose and out came the shorts and t-shirts.  The shooting was more interesting during the cold snap, as the hot desert sun (after about 9:30 a.m.) makes for not-so-pretty pictures.  Much of my success was either before 10:00 a.m. or as the sun was setting.  Afternoon breaks allowed for being a spectator watching the elite line up of international riders who were flocking to Thermal for the AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix.  Another story for another day.

I share with you some of my favorite shots from this last adventure.  The journey will take us in the coming months to elementary school graduation, a couple of garden shoots, a celebratory trip to Spain and horse shows around CA…all of this leading up to the child starting a new chapter as she enters middle school.   Wish me luck, Charly (if have a child who is 10, you get it).  ~ Peace!  J>

Image

Image

Image

Image

ImageGoodbye Thermal ~

Advertisements

Catching Up

Standard

Layla

With Thermal just a few weeks away, I have been mostly shooting horses and barn candids.  Thermal – the HITS Desert Circuit Horse Show begins today in Thermal, California and continues through March 17.  Ally and the Oak Haven crew will be competing during the second half of the circuit and our horses, trainers and riders head south in just a few weeks.  That means, I head south in just a few weeks and will be enjoying the warm desert sunshine while dedicating my next posts to Thermal.  Not to fear flower children, the gardens bloom and the garden shows gear up in March. But, for now, let’s catch up.

My goal this year is to post more pictures, shorten the stories and continue with the intended theme of documenting Ally and my journey to 2020.

2012 ended with the ten year old saying goodbye to two dear furry friends and a stuffed pony named Smores.  But, as the saying goes, “every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”  Two new furry friends have joined our extended family and she continues to ride the real pony named Mickey (along with her beloved, best friend Charly).  As she approaches the end of her 10th year she is gracefully saying goodbye to a few of her childish ways and hello to her tweens.  Fear for me.

I am saying goodbye to an old friend, my Nikon D70.  Great camera that simply hit the pavement too many times (thanks to the 10 year old mentioned above).  My tried and true Nikon D5000 will travel with me to Thermal for the dirty, dusty work.  He will be joined by a new friend who is en-route to Woodside as I type.

I dedicate this post to Layla and Darwin Murray.  We miss you, we love you, may you rest in peace.  xo!!

darwin2p

September 11

Aside

“Imagine all the people living life in peace” ~ John LennonImage

This is an updated edit from the post I made a year ago.  New photo thanks to Ted Mattison and his awesome lunch box.  Today, I sit next to my now ten-year old daughter and tell her the story of what happened on September 11, 2001.  Believe it or not, I have no longer kept the horrific details of that tragic day away from her.  She has learned of the terrorists, and she now understands there were horrible wars being fought on lands far away and she comprehends that America continues to fight a war on terrorism.  She also knows that the leader of these atrocities, Osama bin Laden, is dead.  Thank you, President Obama!

Do you remember where you were the morning of September 11?  Of course, you do.  We all do.  As I mentioned before, the cats were unusually restless and woke us at 6:00 a.m.  There was no small child yet; though the Bean was starting to sprout.  Those who know me understand that I will never willingly get out of bed at 6:00 a.m., however, on that day, I did.  The phone rang and I knew immediately it was not going to be good news.  It was my friend, Lisa, from D.C. calling, “turn on the news”.  The first tower had already been hit; and, Paula Zahn was announcing it was a small plane.  As she spoke, the view behind her was of the twin towers with smoke billowing out of the first.  I stared in disbelief; the unthinkable was approaching the second tower.  I watched, in real-time, as the jetliner smash into the second tower.  I thought how surreal life had just become.  I contemplated turning off the television.  I was one month pregnant with the  Bean in what I’ll simply describe as a very sensitive pregnancy.  This was so horrific and tragic, I didn’t want these emotions filtering through by body and soul.  As much as I thought I should, I didn’t turn off the television.  In fact, I could do nothing, but, watch for the next week.

On this day, I am now able to share with my now thriving 10 year old, the story of one victim that hit very close to home.  Our friend and contractor was at the house the morning of the attack.  He and I sat in silence waiting to hear the news.  His nephew was a financial planner for Cantor Fitzgerald.  He arrived every morning that week and we watched.  One morning, he called.  He would not be coming to the house today.  It had been confirmed, his nephew had been killed.  What hit me the hardest was that his nephew’s wife was also expecting.  Her now ten year old never got to meet her father.  I count my blessings every day.

My husband flew into D.C. last May, moments before President Obama made the announcement….Osama Bin Laden was dead.  Bryan was able to join the thousands of revelers just after midnight at the White House.  He described it as a moment of  beautiful mayhem that he will never forget.  Americans coming together in celebration that terror and evil did not prevail.

The Bean and I now have long talks about 9/11.  She has seen the images and watched the video of this horrific moment in time.  She is not afraid.  Based on what she shares with me I think she intends to be part of the change and forward momentum that America needs to make this country become again a place where people live in harmony and find and enjoy their freedoms.  Sounds corny, but, let’s see what happens!  Peace!

Olympic Dreams

Standard

“We all have dreams.  But in order to make dreams come into reality it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” ~ Jesse Owens 1936 Olympics ~ Photo courtesy of Cheval Photos

I have been saving this post for a few weeks because I thought today would be the perfect day to share this little story.  As you all know, my daughter, Ally, is a little equestrian with very big dreams.  Her dream, she will tell you, is to go to the Olympics one day.  While she is only 10, that dream, should it ever come to fruition could be as soon as 8 years aways.  2020 is the first year she would be eligible (you must be at least 18) for the equestrian Olympic team.  While Ally’s journey to 2020 may or may not take her to the Olympics, I can tell you this, without a doubt, many hours of training and many horse shows will fill the days of her future.  She is beyond horse crazy.  She has a passion that is her driving force.

Ally’s idol is Reed Kessler, who you see in the beautiful photo, above.  Reed Kessler is the youngest person in history to make an Olympic equestrian show jumping team, being selected on June 17 (while still 17) at Spruce Meadows in Calgary.  Reed celebrated her 18th birthday July 9, less than three weeks before the cutoff date to qualify for the Olympics in London.

The photo posted above was taken by my friend and fellow equestrian photographer, Selena Frederick, owner of http://www.ChevalPhotos.com.  Selena photographs many of the top riders in the world and travels to most of the high profile events in North America.  I feel very blessed to know her and call her my friend.  She inspires me artistically and has shown me that even in this small world of equestrians and professionals, there is room for everyone.

Selena was at Spruce Meadows when Reed was named to the Olympic Team.  I called Selena and I asked her if she could possibly ask Reed for an autograph for Ally. A napkin with her name would do.  I hate to ask for these kind of favors and understood completely if she didn’t feel comfortable asking.  Selena said she would see what she could do.  The next day I heard from Selena and she told me she had something to Ally.  Later that week that “something” arrived ~

As you can imagine the small child is beside herself.  A frame has been purchased and a space on the wall selected for the note and one of Selena’s beautiful photos of Reed.  You can check out the rest of Selena’s photos of Reed on her blog http://chevalphotos.com/3129/every-little-girls-dream.

Thank you, Selena for your kindness, your art and your inspiration!  Reed, thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful note to Ally.  Good luck to you and Cylana this week!  We will be cheering you on every step of the way!   You are a hero and inspiration not only to my little one; but, to many little ones with big dreams.  ♥♥

Journey through the Past

Standard

“Will your restless heart come back to mine on a journey through the past? Will I still be in your eyes and on your mind?” ~ Neil Young

They say when you have a child you begin to flash back to your own childhood, with memories creeping in that have long been forgotten.  Around the time the Bean was 5, vivid memories came rushing back of my life in my childhood home on Choctaw Lane in Ohio.  On my birthday a week ago, the Bean had a birthday party of her own to attend for a friend who was turning 10. I began to reminisce about my childhood birthday parties on Choctaw Lane; parties my mother so joyfully threw for me every summer.  No party themes, no menu, no Disney characters on hand to entertain and no rules on who must be included on the guest list.  The guests were simply the neighborhood kids, menu of ice cream and cake,  and games of pin the tail and dropping clothes pins in a jar.  The gifts were so awesome (and cheap).  I remember clinging to a slinky during most of the party; to this day one of my favorite birthday gifts of all time.   We would swing on our swings, run around the neighbor’s cornfield chasing the chickens, do cartwheels, ride bikes and just play.

40 years later, kids have Alice in Wonderland tea parties with the Mad Hatter as the guest of honor, race go carts, indoor skydive, attend events at country clubs and travel on ski trips.  The party the Bean attended was a murder mystery ~ Clue ~ themed party.  She had a script, a costume and was beyond excited for the event.  We wouldn’t have had a “clue”  back in the day how to even approach a party like this.  So, maybe some of these parties are over the top.  Life, in general, today is over the top.

You might think I’m now going to say “I miss the good old days”; the days when life was simple.  Well, I’m not and I don’t.  Indeed, the memories are lovely; however, I’m thrilled to be a part of the changing times.  I am in awe of the children of this generation.  These kids define our future.  They are smart, kind, globally aware and conscientious!  They don’t need to be convinced that our planet is in danger.  They know it and are eager and willing to help fix the damage caused by their predecessors.

So, 40 years later the small child attended her friend’s birthday party and successfully solved the murder mystery while I sat with friends drinking a martini or two and sharing stories about the good old days (not really 🙂  Life is good ♥

The Best Luck I Had Was You

Standard

“Cause the best luck I had was you…and I know one thing, that I love you!” ~ Michael Franti

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since that 3:00 a.m. drive down the mountain to Stanford Hospital to receive what we thought would be a little eye rolling, a few chuckles and advice to go back home and relax for another 3 or 4 weeks.  Ah, the best laid plans.  A year ago my post was a tribute to the Bean, reflecting on the memories of the day she was born. Rereading it today, it still makes me smile and wonder where I drew the creativity to write such an almost humorous post. I’ll probably repost it at some point today; however, for the sake of nostalgia (mine), feel free to check it out at http://www.journeyto2020.com/2011/04/21/she-is-going-to-be-a-handful/

Instead of writing, yet again, about how enamored I am with my child, I’ve decided to switch gears and give her a voice by sharing a poem she wrote for her fourth grade class this week; a little piece of her soul~

MY SOUL

My soul is running free
Like a wild horse
My soul is the drumming
Of hoof beats on the
Burning sand
My soul is the sound of
Ear piercing whinnies
My soul is a bright
Place with the smell
Of thick leather
My soul is the sweat
And blood of a horse.

By: Ally Sinclair

Happy 10th Birthday, sweet Alexandra!  Your love, kindness, courage and beauty (inside and out) is the essence of an unbridled soul!  May you, forever, experience life exactly as you feel it today!!

p.s. And, never forget the best luck I had was you ♥   xoxo!!

Faith in Humanity

Standard

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” ~
Dalai Lama

It’s been a long week.  Life can change on a dime.  All you can hope is that your faith in humanity will always maintain and hold you.  Twenty four hours ago I was losing some faith.  My child was on the receiving end of some very unkind and ugly behavior at school.  Behavior that, of course, had no merit, no foundation and that should never, ever have been tolerated.  But, ugliness happens….life happens.  Between the time of her explaining her heartbreak to Bryan and myself, and us sorting things out with teacher/parents/etc., we got a call that Aunt Re was failing.  Bryan had to catch the first flight to the East coast, immediately. He stopped by school at lunchtime today to tell the Bean he was leaving for a while.  He didn’t explain much and she didn’t ask.

As I sit here at 1:00 a.m. and wait to hear whatever news I can receive, my heart breaks for the journey that Bryan is taking with his/our beloved Aunt Re.  Prayers for a peaceful journey are all I can wish and hope for.  However, through this heartbreak, I must share that my faith in humanity has been restored.  This evening I have received an outpouring of e-mails from parents from the Bean’s class wanting to know if she is okay and if there is anything they can do to help.  Apparently, after Bryan left her at school, she had a difficult time masking her emotions from her classmates.  They all knew, immediately, something was wrong and surrounded her with hugs and kindness. She found comfort in her friends.  Many of them told their parents and the parents took the time to send me an e-mail.  It’s amazing to know that despite the road bumps and tragedies in life’s journey, humanity really does always prevail.

I dedicate Journey to 2020 to Re/Aunt Re/Sharon Frasier.  You have always been my biggest fan and cheerleader, and for that I am forever grateful.  You are kindness.  You are courage.  You are wisdom.  We love you are with you, hand in hand, on your journey.