Riding: The Nationals

Beginning their season on the world stage, they are ending their season on the world stage.

graphic courtesy of Blenheim EquiSports

They are the Nationals in Las Vegas. Part of the World Cup tour, the CSI4* rated show is the most important show of their season. The stage is larger. The expectations are greater. The anticipation higher. The field of riders they are competing with, in the World Cup qualifier, are among the best professionals in the world. Yet, “it is no different from any other show,” my daughters have said. “It is about riding, giving your best.”

“A rider must fully trust themselves and their horse,” Trish says of competing at this level. Having competed on the world stage herself, Trish speaks from experience. “The girls, they can compete with anyone. They have the intangibles.” With no guarantee of success, “they are unafraid,” Trish adds. “Count them among the best in the world.”

training day sunset: quiet moment between Tara and Cameron (RRC, Oct 27 2018)

They are ready. Their horses are ready.

Ride now, ride forever



In Colorado, one is able to plate their car from a large selection of license plates. From wildlife to outdoor sports to military recognition to the Denver Broncos or Colorado Rockies. Other specialty plates are available like antique cars, street rods and collector vehicles. Certain requirements, though, must be fulfilled with many of the specialty plates prior to receiving one.

During the 2016 session, the state legislature overhauled the license plate statute. A specialty plate would need to have 3,000 plates issued every year to avoid “retirement“. Those plates not meeting the new threshold, the sponsoring groups were notified the plates they support would be retired in 2017.

Colorado Pioneer license plate
image courtesy of Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles

One of the more popular specialty plates is the Pioneer license plate. Previously, an applicant needed to provide documentary proof indicating they were a descendant of a Colorado settler. Understanding the difficulty in gathering documents, the standard was relaxed. Providing proof would no longer be required; payment of the $50 set-up fee would be the only requirement. The relaxed requirement has not lead to a sudden uptick in Pioneer plates seen on the road.

When my dad traded his venerable 1978 Buick LeSabre Custom for a newer model car, I suggested he choose a specialty plate over the standard Colorado green and white. He would have a much larger selection than most applicants – US Army, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Korean War Veteran, Vietnam Veteran and Pioneer. Dad seemed not to be interested much by a specialty plate. He chose the Pioneer plate when he registered his car today. Dad said he liked how it looked on my Expedition.


The more intimate dates within our family are remembered, celebrated for the happiness they bring. My parents’ wedding anniversary is one of those dates. Today is their 65th anniversary. Mom would say, “Sorry, I have missed this celebration and a half.” While it is bittersweet, my dad is not one for misty-eyed moments. He has remained loyal in wearing his wedding band after mom’s passing.

A baker, a lover of chocolate, mom would have loved these chocolate chip cookies. Extra rich, they are the “melt-in-your-mouth” kind. “Decadent,” mom would have proclaimed.

Our family chocolatier, Laurie, baked these late, last evening after a long day at work. They will be savored tonight after a hearty stew for dinner. A perfect dessert on a cold winter’s night.

A toast to their long marriage.

Happy Anniversary!


Colorado In Fall: Coming Home

A warm hearth awaits, along with stories and tales to be told.

Dino and Pebbles were first, when they were baby kittens in 1989. Then, it was Egypt in 2005. On the equine front, Cara and Magician came in 2003. There’s something about October, something about the fall season, when it is time to come home.

Soon, another October addition will come.

Tara riding then two-year old Shelby (Double N Ranch, TX – May 2016)

Shelby is destined be Tara’s future show jumping horse. In the two years since Tara’s first ride with Shelby, the paint has undergone a growth spurt and now stands at 17.3 hands tall. At four years old, Nicole says he’s going to be a talented one. Shelby is jumping at the one meter level. Nicole believes his time has arrived to learn and develop with a talented rider. For Tara, Shelby reminds her so much of Jasper.

With Shelby, Tara notes, “Second chances rarely come. We’re going to make a good run at being the best.”

Pebbles: Rainbow Bridge Day

They were unsettled days, a mix of cold, rain and snow. The past few days have not been much different. The similarities of two moments in time, separated by thirteen years, have been most striking. Yet, they have been very different in mood.

The good days with Pebbles were many. She was ever loyal and loving. The best napping companion. She did not ask for much, except for tuna, a small taste of fresh canola oil, and her own little plate for dinner.

baby quilt: taking the morning nap

the daily tuna: lunching in the kitchen

Pebbles also liked her luxuries. She nibbled on her grandma’s gold bracelet, and developed a fondness for her leopard-print, leather handbag. My mom was more than happy to give Pebbles the handbag. One night, Pebbles spotted Andrea’s diamond pendant on her dressing table. The next morning, the pendant was missing. Andrea searched high and low for the pendant. While she thought Deborah or Elizabeth may have taken the pendant, Andrea found it laying in the kitty toy basket. Pebbles had put away her new special toy. When she saw Pebbles giving her the eye, Andrea asked if it was okay if she could wear the pendant for the day. Pebbles meowed her reply; Andrea took it to be a “yes”.

kitty fashion: Pebbles with her leather handbag

spa: warming in the dryer

Every day was a good one with our Pebbles. We were very privileged to be her forever family for 16 years. We love and miss you much.

Love you always,

mom and dad

Twenty Three

A special post by Andrea Kanakredes, RN, MSN.

Oh, how my heart skipped when I learned you were conceived. It was pure joy, to know another babe was on the way. I asked dad, “Girl or boy?” His answer came easily. “Girl. They are sweeter and finer.” Such a sweet, kind answer.

shaded yet bright: Elizabeth flashing eyes and earrings (age 5)

Our second princess, Elizabeth, is twenty three. Dad and I are so proud of who you have become. Gorgeous, inquisitive, talented. We so love how close you are with Deborah. And, with Tara. A heart full of love.

The chapter you’ve just begun will prove to be most challenging of your life. Dad and I know you will give your best effort, learning and perfecting your skills. Whatever your life’s work may be – physician, rancher or equestrian – you will be successful.

kindred spirits: Elizabeth and Lilith on an autumn walk (JN Ranch, October 2016)

Another beautiful princess, we are so blest. A princess who still slips us love notes and listens to our hearts flutter with love.

My perfect princess, your dad’s perfect princess.

Happy 23, baby!

mom and dad

Tuxie: Two Years, Still Too Soon

It is two years. We didn’t have a chance to exchange our momentary goodbyes. Our Tuxie boy left much too soon, much too young.

His quiet, laid-back personality is missed tremendously. Tuxie enjoyed his window watching. From the early morning to the late evening. From birds and squirrels to the occasional skunk or raccoon. And, of course, he watched his persons whenever they were outside and in window view.

on watch from the master bedroom bookcase (July 2012)

produce inspecting with Miss Pinky from the 2012 peach harvest (Aug 2012)

Maxie and Midnight adjusted much better than anticipated after Tuxie’s loss. The Musketeer bond between the three littermates, very strong. They always watched for one another in true Musketeer fashion.

In many ways, Tuxie’s presence and essence continues to live on through Maxie and Midnight. There are moments when you see some of Tuxie’s personality and behavior in the two.

window watching with a smile (May 2014)

We love and miss you much.