You Only Turn Ancient Once

I have decided that we don't throw surprise parties for the sake of surprising the person and having it create an ultimate euphoria for them, but to torture yourself with lies and solo planning and phone number thieving just to hear the magic words,

 "he doesn't suspect a thing."

When you're planning a surprise party, that is the ambrosia that you seek. 

But since it is Dan, and Dan likes things simple and intimate, we got together the good souls I knew were free on a weeknight, ate some chips and queso tailgate style, and then strolled through the new museum. It was perfect. And yes, he was surprised, if not a little alarmed at how much lying I did to get him there.

The dudes of the shindig:

 The gorgeous dudettes of the shindig (top AND bottom photos, obvs.):

And below, the children of the shindig. The most proper and adorable person ever:

The blonde bombshell:

The high on sugar Buzz(ed) Lightyear:

Stuffed on southwest eggrolls and queso, we moved to the cool air of the museum to learn about Native Americans,


The Roman Empire, (I don't think there was anything in there about the Roman Empire, but you know, Micheal.)


And weather.

The Dinosaur room in the new Museum is so mesmerizing. We should have stayed longer. 

Brother with Ancient Alligator. 

Micheal tiring of my papparazzi skillz.

Celeste being a wonderful sport for a pretty adorable photo, if I do say so.

One man, one stroller, one dinosaur.

I made him do this because he tried to convince me he broke a fossil. Worth it.

Sunset from the Museum Canyon.

Once we left the museum, we commandeered their outdoot patio for a worry-free night of chatting amongst friends who can't all be together at once very often.

And took more ridiculous photos. Derek likes his floating head in this one. 

Family photo!

The greatest couple ever.

We also picked a good night to go, because Bonnie Raitt was playing next door at Red Butte Garden, not 300 yards away. So we got a free concert to go with our party, too.

And at around midnight, when Dan turned officially 30, we parted ways under a bright waxing moon. It was good to share the day with friends who have made us both better people, and who made us laugh. 

Happy Birthday, Danny. The fun is just beginning!



So...This Happened.

I entered this really dorky horse contest wherein you entered by submitting a picture of you and your horse, and your horse's "song." Yes, some horse people give their horses songs, the way some couples have a song. I think the favorite horse/rider song I'd ever heard suggested was one woman who said her horse's song was "Straight Outta Compton".  Hilarity.

This was my entry:

And yes, yes, I won.

I am more than a little embarrassed about this.

Or at least I was until my prize came in the mail, and then my inner child was set free all over again:

Yes, that is a previously blogged about Breyer Horse . Yes, it is signed. By who you ask?  My childhood 3-Day Eventing heroes and Olympic Medalists, Karen and David O'Connor.

My fate as a total loser is sealed, and I just can't bring myself to worry about that. Too busy playing with Theodore.


Too Good Not to Share

A couple weeks ago when I posted a call for summer tunes, I got some excellent responses all around. But of course I suck, and I only just found time to check out all the recommendations I got, and discovered that my mother recommended THIS:

I'm not saying that this is my best vocal work, but I am saying it's the best. My sisters are the best in all the land.


The Last of the Old Guard.

It's been a remarkable summer of enormous highs and profound lows.  Life has forced me to sort of look into the crystal ball and confront what it is I am really here to do, and I feel like I have made it to the other side not with despondency but with fervor; not with fear but with compassion. Though I am sorry to say that I am more impatient than ever.

My relationship with horses has been a complicated and emotional one this summer.  My mother and I had a beautiful, absolutely perfect trail ride in California just a few weeks before the injury that stuck her in a wheelchair for a few months. I leased a horse, who is now injured. But I've replaced riding at the barn with coaching 4H, and in a lot of ways, that's better than riding someone else's horse.

The little savings account I have entitled "Future Horse" is filling up, and every dollar there is a step closer to what I want most. Seeing it rise is better than all the borrowed rides in the past 10 years combined.

Only two weeks ago, I went down to the thriving bustling ranch to see my family, ride horses, and clean tack. It was the best weekend I can remember in my adult life. I rode Posie through the mountains, chased the donkeys around, and gave rides to the next generation of horse crazy. And, my mother and I pulled Old Lady Jurnisa out for a hoof trimming. A first rate equine pedicure.

Jurnisa has been in my consciousness for as long as I can remember. The memory of mother bathing her and Prince on the lawn of our Provo house when I was two is probably the most vivid of my childhood. Her dappled bay and his pure white coats shimmered with water and rippling muscle against the contrast of the green grass and sparkling cottonwood leaves overhead. From then on, it was horses horses horses.

Jurnisa in her prime, circa 1992

Jurnisa was never my horse, but my father's and she competed in 25 mile endurance rides often with him.  When the time came to find an english horse for me, Jurnisa was considered, but swiftly set aside by my loftier ambition to have a thoroughbred.  And when that thoroughbred broke her crown and left me horseless only weeks before the big year-end 4H show, I turned back to the horse I'd dismissed before.

Wouldn't you know, that semi-retired "Old Lady" jumped everything I asked her to, got all her leads in the flat classes, and took second place in Dressage, besting the fancy Thoroughbred's best dressage finish by 3 placings. She was an incredibly fun horse to show, and I'm glad that even as a dazed 14 year old with an injured superstar, I grasped the gravity then of what Jurnisa had done for me.

Jurnisa at State, 2001

There are only three trophies/ribbons which I still keep out and about to remind me of my childhood. One for a horsemanship class I won with Poco at the County Fair, One for winning State all-around with Starr, and one, understated, red dressage ribbon, which will probably always make me cry when I think about what it represents.

I held Jurnisa's head when she left this world on Friday, and we buried her with a wreathe of sunflowers around her neck and royal blue blankets. A burial befitting a champion and a friend. Mom and I were there together, which was a tender mercy, and felt the sting that Dad was in California- a lash of cruelty that befits this chaotic gypsy summer.

She now rests next to Prince in the green green orchard. Next to our dearest dogs and damndest cats. With every friend we add to that earth, the magnitude of the orchard's beauty and stillness seems to increase. More and more, I wonder if I could ever bear to leave that place behind when half my life and all my childhood dreams sing to me through the soil.

I could never properly thank Jurnisa for the beauty and restlessness and magic she added to my young life, or the courage and patience she showed in my adolescence, or for the lessons she taught me in her final hour. Instead, I will thank mother for taking care of her all these years and making sure she finished her life out with our family, and thank Dad for building all her shelters  and growing that patch of grass for her to stay fat on in California, and giving her all she could ever want in her very long retirement. So few horses will know the joy of lifelong caretakers, and I feel so relieved to know we offered such a life to a horse so worthy of it.

A happy 33 year old.


I Need a Hero

I want to say that something like this is way out of the ordinary for KSL horse ads, but tragically, this is the rule more than the exception.

Sideways pictures, indifference (or ignorance?) to the apostrophe, space bar is optional, she misspelled quarter not once but twice, I have no idea what a Gorolla is (could you possibly mean grulla???) but apparently it means covered in slivers, and I would love to see that horse do some DERSAGE, and, my personal favorite, clearly, repeatedly, shamelessly misspelled the word "AND."


I get it. You don't need to go to school to sell/breed/raise/train horses. You don't need to spell to be in the know and win classes and pay your bills.

But judging by the number of inbred, skinny, neglected rescue horses being given away on KSL, I would say it wouldn't hurt anyone in the horse industry to up their game a little, eh?

Now that I have that out of the way, expect a post on Minneapolis soon, as well as a few photos from the Evans family reunion in July, which was an emotional, spiritual, physical and equestrianical (YES, TOTALLY A WORD) retreat in every possible way. I can't remember the last time I was so happy. 

Peace Out. And don't forget about spell-check.