About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Blogs, Baseball Bats & Race Horses

(Novice blogger and host for this week's Fun Monday over at Bee Dancers is curious about our obsession--admit it!--with blogging. How and why did we begin? Why do we keep blogging? She also wants to see what person, place, or thing most symbolizes the area where we live and, probably, get a lot of our blog fodder.)

This is my little retirement home, Summit Court, and the place where most of the musings take place for this blog. I've written about my blogging efforts in the past few months, but will review for Bee Dancer and other new readers. I started Summit Musings over a year ago as a challenge in retirement. I wanted to stay connected with friends who are still working and don't have a lot of time to be on the telephone or e-mail with me. I also wanted to keep up and improve what few technology skills I have. Blogging also appealed to my creative side. I love to write and tell stories and I have opinions on many different topics. Blogging has turned out to be the perfect way to discuss issues, interests, and life in general with a variety of intriguing people from the U.S. and other countries. And, lets not forget the greatest bonus--the wonderful dogs I've met along the way. I especially love getting posts about their adventures.

So, most days you'll find me spending entirely too much time in my little office hidey hole on Summit Court either writing or reading blog posts. (Photo disclaimer: this wonderful bed of hostas, astilbes, ferns and green lawn carpet was my passion before blogging. Once I was a gardener, now not so much. . .)

The second part of Bee Dancer's assignment was for us to share an image that best symbolizes the area where we live. I have two places/events that may remind you of Louisville, Kentucky:

World's Largest Baseball Bat--can be seen on Main Street leaning against the Louisville Slugger Museum--120 ft. tall, weighing 34 tons. This bat is a copy of the wooden bat used by the great Babe Ruth back in the early 1920s and by many other famous players since then. The Slugger has been manufactured by Hillerich and Bradsby since 1884.

In 1996, the bat factory was moved across the Ohio River to Louisville and combined with a museum which depicts the story of baseball, especially the art of hitting. Baseball enthusiasts can see a replica dugout, interactive displays, and a major collection of memorabilia from many seasons and players. Visitors can also see all stages of bat production from the block of wood to the final "Slugger" imprint.

Since the museum opened in the mid-90s, baseball fans have elevated it to the same must-see status as the major ball fields
and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Churchill Downs, Home of the Kentucky Derby --
Said to be the greatest two minutes in horse racing. Every year on the first Saturday in May three year old thoroughbreds race the mile and a quarter track. This race has been run since 1875. The bluegrass region of central Kentucky has always been suited for the breeding and raising of American thoroughbred race horses with a win in the Derby being the career achievement. The Kentucky Derby was modeled after the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris in France. It is the first race in the Triple Crown which includes the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

If you love horses, but are not that familiar with what it takes to breed these winners, I'll close this post with a little inside story that you may find amusing. Several years ago when I was still working for a statewide agricultural organization, one of my biggest responsibilities was to plan and conduct an annual leadership conference for women farmers from across Kentucky. The conference agendas were a pretty traditional mix of speakers, workshops, exhibits, and agricultural tours. One year, when we we meeting in the middle of the bluegrass region and all its horse farms, I decided to take the women on a tour of Three Chimneys Farm, the premier American thoroughbred race horse breeding farm near Lexington.

Three Chimneys serves as a stallion station and nursery for the next crop of race horses. Winning stallions got to retire from the big races like the Derby and pay for their retirement pensions with handsome stud fees. Nice work if you can get it!

Now most of these women on the tour were not unfamiliar with breeding and raising livestock. However, they had not seen thoroughbred breeding in all its sophistication. The general manager, Dan Rosenberg, personally led the women on a tour of Three Chimneys including a meeting with the great, lovable Smarty Jones who was top stallion in residence at the time. Mr. Rosenberg himself was quite charming, prompting several of the most prim women to comment on his general hunkiness.

After walking us around the postcard beautiful grounds and getting to see the magnificent horses exercising and grazing out in the field, Mr. Rosenberg capped the tour with them getting to see the actual breeding of a mare. And what a show it was. As you can imagine, many of the mares come in the barn either disinterested or very skittish. We were amused to see that they actually use a second string stallion to get the mare in a "cooperative" mood. Dan told the women to think of this stallion as the loser in a bar. He'd be the one to buy the woman a drink and make the opening "come here often?" spiel. Then when he'd done all that, he got the heave ho and the big name stallion, like Smarty Jones, came in to "take the lady home"! The women were right in the moment, not at all shy about the experience. However, several male staffers who were helping with the tour commented that they'd never imagined that watching a mare being bred with 100 Farm Bureau women looking on would ever have been in their job descriptions! I just remember getting really good conference evaluations that year. . . (last photo: Ed Reinke/AP)

I hope you've learning something about baseball bats and horse racing. And, more importantly, discovered that we all blog for many of the same reasons. Now head over to Bee Dancer's site to check out other Fun Monday posts.


Hootin' Anni said...

Churchill Downs....love it's history! Love the races too. Now about the Louisville Slugger, I didn't realize that was there also. See? That is why I started blogging myself...to visit others and get to know them. Love your Summit Court!!!

My Fun Monday is shared tho I seem to have been overlooked on the list of participants. So, come on by if you can find time today, I'd love to have you visit with me.

Janis said...

Love to see the pictures of other cities, makes me want to visit even more. Living close to Md. we are familiar with the "Preakness". Our town here in Hanover is horse country also, they are raised for harness racing. Blogging is good for the soul, keep it up.

{i}Post said...

Ha! I thought I recognized those two pictures...they are the postcards you sent me! Love them!

I blog for similar reasons...creativity and staying connected!

IamwhoIam said...

And a Good story you tell.

In one of my many moves, Louville KY was home for a short time. I worked at the Navey Base (there were very few people there at all when I was there). It is a lovely city, and most of the people I met were friendly.

BeeDancer said...

I love that story...And you're right, I certainly never knew about the 'warm up' guys in breeding...

Of course I'd heard of Churchill downs, but had no idea about the baseball museum...I love that giant bat...Oversized icons are some of my favorite 'roadside attractions' when we travel

ChrisB said...

Several of us took up blogging at the time we retired from the workplace. For me it's been a brilliant hobby and I so enjoy seeing pictures of where other people live.

Sayre said...

Oh, your horse breeding story had me cracking up!!! That was great!

My father in law would love that giant bat. He is a huge baseball fan!

La La said...

I love it! This is such a great opportunity to get to know a little bit more about each other! No way are you old enough to be retired! No WAY! Very interesting travelogue on Louisville.

Aoj and The Lurchers said...

e the Kentucky Derby I have heard of!

I can't believe you don't garden so much these days!? It is, or was anyway, such a passion of yours!

The Church Lady said...

Great pictures! I love the one of the world's largest baseball bat!

storyteller said...

What a lovely setting in which to live and blog now that you’re retired. I blog for many of the same reasons that you do and my garden has suffered in the year I’ve been at it too. Wow … that’s SOME BASEBALL BAT and I enjoyed your ‘inside story’ about the tour … in fact methinks I would have like to be there myself ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Rob Pannell said...

Love the baseball bat.
Great blog!

Faye said...

hootin anni--thought a baseball enthusiast like you would appreciate a heads up about the slugger museum.

janis--so interesting to see what everyone chooses to highlight about their own hometown.

ipost--hope your gang is about to reach its 50 state postcard goal--last I checked it seemed close.

iamwhoiam--thanks for compliments for Louisville. It's big city with small town ways.

chrisb--seeing where people live and what they surround themselves with offers some great insights into their writing, right?

bee dancer--I agree about the charms of oversized icons--they just appeal, the same as miniatures in the opposite direction.

sayre--glad you weren't offended by my "lust in the barn" story!

la la--tell me where to send the bribery check. . .lol

aoj & lurchers--actually having four large dogs at once started my gardening decline. However, I wouldn't have traded them for any garden.

the church lady--you'll remember Louisville now?

storyteller--I assure you, that tour received top ratings and it wasn't the lovely farmland!

rob parnnell--thanks for kind words about my blog--it's a work in progress.

laurie said...

third important thing about louisville: i was born there!

drive past 100 SW Parkway some time. tell me how it's looking.

karisma said...

Wow, that certainly is a large baseball bat! Happy fun Monday!

Alison said...

I love your house.

Great photos and interesting info about the horses..I didn't know any of that!!!

Alison said...

I'm back...yes my family and friends for the most part don't comment. Yes we are the family that loves to hike along the coast and in the redwoods.

Gattina said...

I think we are in the same boat concerning blogging ! It keeps us updated and in contact with the whole world !
My goodness what a big baseball bat !!
I have been in many States in the USA during the 90th, (8 times in 8 years) but I haven't been in your town.

Faye said...

laurie--yes, for sure I'll scope out this famous birthplace and report back--will there be a sign in the yard? (..)

karisma--we grow them big in Louisville, even bats!

Alison--now you have some insider horse racing trivia for next year's Derby party.

gattina--you have family in the U.S.?

Ari_1965 said...

Cute house.

m (the misanthrope) said...

Faye - hi, thanks for visiting! And I loved the photo tour of your area! I love to watch the Kentucky Derby on TV. I haven't ever seen it in person, though. Wow...after visiting the FM participants, I want to take a road trip to all these fascinating places!

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