Monday, May 11, 2009

Derby Girls...

Last weekend three of my favorite friends and I got in my Honda and drove to Louisville (pronounced Lo-ah-ville for those of you not in the know) for the 135th Kentucky Derby.We packed up the car and left Virginia at about 3:00pm. We had all-girls road trip mixes in the stereo, goodies in the cooler, and large, flamboyant hats proudly displayed in the rear window. We were on our way.
About 15 minutes later the traffic had slowed to a crawl, and we were nervous that it was going to be a very long trip--almost 1500 miles in 3 days. It was a bad sign seeing as how rush hour hadn't even hit yet. Suddenly we saw to our right a black bump that looked like part of a tire. On closer inspection we saw that it was a large black snake that looked like a cobra, but had no hood. We watched it as we passed by and wondered where it had come from and how it had managed to survive its journey thus far. In India, it is an omen of success to see a snake crawling about in the road before you. Little did we know that the snake we saw within the first 30 minutes of our trip would portend a huge road trip success.

The traffic cleared shortly after we saw the snake and we drove straight through--with the exception of a very abbreviated stop at the shadiest Arby's I have ever seen--and stopped for the night in Lexington, about an hour away from Louisville. The next morning we woke up and got dolled up for the Derby.
We really didn't know what to expect. It was our first time at the Derby. We had tickets for the infield, the large grassy area in the center of the track. We managed to stake out a spot amongst several large groups of men. They found us delightful. Incidentally, the more mint juleps they consumed, the more delightful we became. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was less "My Fair Lady" and the Ascot Races and more "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby." Think NASCAR...only with less, um, horsepower.

So, the following is a little documentation of our derby experience.
Jen and Michelle were so happy to be at the derby!

As it turns out, hugging while wearing large hats is hard...It's okay, we worked it out

Someone placed this lovely sticker on Michelle's bum. It says "I Got Lucky With Someone From Kentucky" Looks like someone was hoping they'd be lucky enough to get that close to Michelle!

I don't think we will be shocked by anything after the Derby

Other stickers we saw that day included one that said "Talk Derby to Me." While the Derby was full of new and interesting sights and adventures, we were constantly amazed at the sheer number of MEN that we saw. They were everywhere. Huge groups of them. Hunting Buddies. Frat Boys. Office Associates. Family Groups. Biker Gangs. The odd thing was that these groups were lacking one thing that usually goes hand in hand with groups of men...Women. Not one. Even stranger was that these groups of men were HOT. I'm not trying to be shallow, but seriously. I know where all the attractive men have been hiding...KENTUCKY! Unfortunately, sorting them into "sober" and "not sober" categories would have taken days. So we were forced to just enjoy the eye candy.

The Twin Spires of Churchill Downs

Jen and I bet on the ponies. We know we shouldn't have, but we did it anyway. Too bad we didn't put any money on "Mine That Bird"...50:1 odds...Wow.

Anne made fresh chicken salad sandwiches. What is more Derby than fresh chicken salad and coke?

The men next to us tried to by us drinks. All three groups of them. On a couple of different occasions. This led to an interesting opportunity to discuss why we didn't drink, where we went to school, and how we really were just there to have a good time, yes, without alcohol. They were fascinated. One of them wanted to marry Anne. Right then and there. She was "the most beautiful woman [he] had ever seen." By the time we left he "Didn't think he didn't want to never see [her] again." That was probably 4 or 5 mint juleps later. Go figure.

It's all about the Hats.

After the Derby we drove to Charleston, West Virginia and spent the night. Charleston is a cute little mining town with a beautiful capitol building and adorable historic district. We slept in, ate waffles at the hotel and then wandered around taking pictures at the capitol.

Anne, Michelle and Jen in front of the Capitol.

One of my Besties!

Midge and Jen fooling around at the capitol.

One of my all time favorite pics of Michelle.

After enjoying the scenery in Charleston, we drove to Jen's home...Miller Farm, nestled in a little valley just over the Virginia/West Virginia state line. There we had one of the most amazing lunches on record with Mama and Papa Miller and the crew. Farm fresh pork roast, mashed potatoes, hot biscuits, and fresh-picked morels. We were in heaven. After dinner we helped feed the bum-calf, saw the pigs, and enjoyed the fresh mountain air. Made me miss home. After a long and sad goodbye to Miller Farm and all its charms, we drove the rest of the way home and back into the real world. A safe end to a very successful and memorable trip.

I love these girls. They are a priceless part of what makes my life so wonderful. Thanks for an amazing weekend, ladies.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Memo on Noisy Avian Lovemaking...

Dear Birds,

In the interest of our future relationship and my personal sanity I feel it is important to address the following issue outright.

I appreciate the difficulty of finding love in this day and age. It is not easy. I cannot imagine it being any easier if you are a Swallow, or a Thrush, or a Dove. Finding a mate is no easy task. Trust me, I know.

I can only imagine the ecstasy one must feel at finally having found "The One." A truly miraculous occurence, no doubt.

However, this does not negate the fact that whilst the better part of your kind are in the throes of springtime joy, there are others of us who are trying to carry on with the general day-to-day of it all.

In short, what I'm trying to say is if we could keep the pre-5am amorous chirping to a minimum (and by minimum I am implying total and complete elimination) that would be fantastic. It's not that I don't appreciate the springtime miracle unfolding outside my window, it's just that I would rather not have to wake up to it before the sun has even considered rousting itself out of its bed.

In conclusion, I think we can make this relationship work. You keep the announcement of early morning lovemaking quiet, and I, in turn, will keep an eye on my neighbor's cat. I also believe such an arrangement will prevent sleep deprivation on my part. This is good for you in that it will prevent me from having a psychotic break from reality which may or may not cause me to throw rocks at your nest come summer. It's your call.

Very Respectfully,


Monday, May 4, 2009

Go, Humans, Go!

Saw THIS on the side of a bus this morning as I was walking to work in the rain...again.

I can't tell if I should be encouraged by the Quaker man, or if he is taunting me as he rushes by, splashing dirty street water on my shoes.

Maybe I should just take the subliminal message for what it is and start eating more Oatmeal.

I still think that mostly I dislike being told what to do...particularly by a smirking Quaker man plastered to the side of a Mass Transit vehicle.