Why the Kentucky Derby is Glorified Horse Abuse

I love so many things about the Kentucky Derby.  I love horses.  I love the way they smell and look and how incredibly intelligent and beautiful they are.  The Kentucky Derby showcases all of the beauty and agility of horses, but there is so much that you don’t see in the racing business.

A racehorse starts its career at an early age, two years old.  At two years old a racehorse is broke to not only be able to carry a jockey on its back, but to know its leads, be able to accurately maneuver on a field of 10 or more horses, and respond to the jockey’s slightest cues for different rates of speed.  To know all of this means that the horse is getting rode hard at 18 months of age or less.  At 18 months a horse is a baby who hasn’t fully developed its muscles and bones yet.  Being pushed so hard to run at top speeds as a youngster does not lend itself to longevity in a horse’s life.  https://www.racingexplained.co.uk/racehorses/all-about-the-thoroughbred/  Source

Horse racing is all about money.  When you look at the horses at the Kentucky Derby and see their glistening coats and team of trainers and groomsmen around them, you think they have a pampered life full of oats, soft bedding, and clean stalls.  They do have those benefits but in return they are forced to run as hard as they possibly can for a mile or more and then when they are exhausted and can hardly run, they are forced to run even harder. 

Many horses die on the racetrack and many are injured.  An injury means their racing career is over unless the horse is a worthy candidate to be a sire.  There is no other need for a horse that can’t race.  

I do love many things about the Kentucky Derby.  I love the pageantry and the beautiful clothes and hats people wear.  I love the traditional food that is served like Mint Juleps and Derby Pie.  I also love the stories behind the owners of the winning horse.  There is usually a great story about a “last chance” horse that wins it all.  The excitement and the beauty of Churchill Downs is par to none. 

I struggle with my love/hate relationship with the Kentucky Derby.  I have been to the Derby twice in my life.  Will I go again?  I hope so.

Maximum Security Crossing the Finish Line at the Kentucky Derby in May 2019

Luis Saez rides Maximum Security, right, across the finish line first against Flavien Prat on Country House during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. Country House was declared the winner after Maximum Security was disqualified following a review by race stewards.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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Many Beautiful Hats and clothes are worn at the Kentucky derby

Mint Juleps and beautiful hats are all part of the festivities at the Kentucky Derby
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Maximum Security crossing the finish line at the 145th Kentucky Derby.
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Visit Hermann, Missouri by Train for Wineries, Bed and Breakfasts, and More

I’ve been wanting to share some of my favorite weekend trips with everyone and Hermann, Missouri is one of them.  Since we live in the southern part of Illinois, not far from St. Louis, this is an easy trip.

Hermann is one of our favorite places to ride on our motorcycle, but you can also get there by Amtrak train.  You can take Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner line from St. Louis and arrive in Hermann in one and one-half hours.  http://visithermann.com/amtrak-service-to-hermann/

The number one reason to visit Hermann is their wine.  In and around Hermann are about seven different wineries https://hermannwinetrail.com/.  Several of the wineries have seating outside like Hermannhof Winery and Adam Puchta Winery.

The second reason I like Hermann is because it is a quaint little town with many bed and breakfasts.  Try to reserve a room several months in advance because they book up quickly.  Here is a city map of Hermann http://visithermann.com/maps/ and lodging options http://visithermann.com/.

Besides the wineries, Hermann also has the Tin Mill Brewery https://www.tinmillbrewery.com/ and Black Shire Distillery https://www.blackshiredistillery.com/home which are my third and fourth reasons for liking Hermann.  Black Shire distills vodka, gin and whiskey and recently opened a beautiful historic place in the countryside for tours.  The Tin Mill Brewery is located in downtown Hermann and offers food like pizza, burgers and bratwurst https://www.tinmillbrewery.com/menu.  Some people don’t like to drink wine so having a microbrewery and distillery are nice options.

Finally, there are several good German restaurants to eat in Hermann.  The Wurst Haus in downtown Hermann is a great stop for lunch.  It serves a variety of bratwursts and even gives free samples.  Sides include red cabbage, sauerkraut and German potato salad https://www.hermannwursthaus.com/.  For a nice dinner, visit the more upscale Stone Hill Winery and Restaurant https://stonehillwinery.com/vintage-restaurant-dining/.  The restaurant is made from a converted carriage house and has plenty of ambience and character.

Click your glasses together at Hermann and have a great time.

The Black Shire Distillery has a beautiful tasting room on a historic farm outside of Hermann. Image Source
The Black Shire Distillery recently started giving tours at its historic site outside of Hermann.  They distill vodka, gin and whiskey.
The Black Shire Distillery is located on a historic site that dates back to 1842.
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Hermann is a beautiful little town with German heritage that lies along the Missouri River. It has wineries, bed and breakfasts and a brewery.
Overview of Hermann, Missouri Image Source

Adopting a Dog is Like Adopting a Child

Adam and his adopted dog, Buster, the first day he got him.

My son, Adam, has wanted a dog ever since he moved into his own apartment.  Since he has disabilities, this is a very big step for him.  We told him to wait until he proved his responsibility and he did.  Now it was time start looking for the right dog.

We started looking online at the major adoption organizations and we tried to limit our favorites to only the dogs that met my son’s requirements.  Friendliness with strangers and being house trained were two big ones. 

The online sites all required the completion of their adoption form, plus the form of the agency where the dog was staying.  The forms were very detailed and lengthy so this process took some time and it was tiring. 

Questions like, “How will we discipline this dog?” and “How much money are we willing to spend on vet bills?” were asked.  These were questions that we weren’t sure how to answer.  If we gave the wrong answers would my son be disqualified as a dog owner? 

After two weeks we hadn’t heard back from any of the agencies.  Had we failed filling out the applications?  Was my son being considered to be a foster dad?  We were both feeling anxious and we questioned whether we had given the right answers on the forms.

I can’t imagine how much anxiety an adoptive parent feels while waiting for a response from an adoption agency. 

I am happy to say that after two weeks of nail biting we were contacted and my son has adopted the perfect dog that fits all of his requirements.  Buster is a small, friendly, house-trained and cuddly dog who loves to sleep on my son’s bed and sit by him on the couch.  He has been accepted by his canine cousins, too, and we all love him.  

Buster is a little dog with a big heart and plenty spunk. He claimed the top of the couch right away!

Two Little Known Things You Should Know before Going to Washington D.C.

My husband and I recently traveled to Washington, D.C. for the first time.  In a one-mile stretch known as the National Mall you will see the Lincoln Memorial situated on the west end and the United States Capitol on the east end.  In between is the Reflective Pool, Washington’s Monument and The White House, among other memorials and museums.

While we had planned to visit many of the memorials and sites in D.C., there were two things we didn’t know when we arrived that I would like to share to make your trip to D.C. a little easier.

Thing to Know #1

The Metro is the public transportation system that runs below ground and above ground in the greater D.C. area and it costs to ride.  It does not take you to the National Mall area.  The free (yes, free) Red Circulator Bus does take you all around the mall.  It makes a continuous loop all day around the mall every ten minutes and makes stops for people to get off and on. 

Thing to Know #2

My husband I didn’t know that finding food would be hard to find in the mall area.  There are a few scattered ice cream vendors and some of the museums have snack bars, but that is it.  Someone finally told us to take the free Red Circulator Bus to the Columbus Circle stop at Union Station (see map below).  Inside Union Station is a large variety of (about 40) fast food places to eat including a Chick-Fil-A, Johnny Rocket’s and McDonald’s.  Here is a link to the food directory in Union Station .  Source 

Knowing both of these facts about D.C. will help your trip more enjoyable and take some of the stress about navigating the many memorials and museums in Washington D.C.


A view of the Reflective Pool and Washington’s Monument in the National Mall

Union Station, a working train station, with food courts on the main level and lower level. Image Source
Snapshot of part of the Free Red Line Bus route (hollow red line route) that circulates the Mall area every ten minutes.

Life at Sixty…is not a bad thing!!

Thanks for joining me!

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is the present, a gift. — Alice Morse Earle

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How to Retire in 5 Easy Steps–Seriously!!

Retirement is a big step in your life.  I know, I just announced my retirement.  I always thought it would be the easiest decision in the world to make, but it’s not.  Guilt sets in.  How can life be suddenly uncomplicated when you’ve been racing like a maniac all your life?  It sounded too good to be true.

Here are my five easy steps to retiring:

Step #1 – Don’t feel guilty.  Society makes us feel like you should always work if you are physically and mentally able.  I say no.  If you’ve worked all of your life, you deserve to retire.  You never know what tomorrow brings and the more money you make the more money you spend is true. 

Step #2 – Decide on your retirement date about one year in advance and stick to it.  I thought about retiring when the weather was warm and beautiful.  Then winter came and I didn’t think I wanted to retire, but when the weather got warm again I knew it was the right choice.  Don’t second guess yourself.

Step #3 – Don’t worry about money.  If you listen to financial investors, you can’t retire until you’re a multi-millionaire and it’s depressing.  If you’re used to a millionaire’s lifestyle, then I guess you should have millions when you retire.  Having “enough” to retire varies with everyone. 

Step #4 – Meet with a financial advisor about your retirement income.  If you are going to be 62, make an appointment a year in advance so you know what you are getting from Social Security.  If you are able to draw a pension, meet a year in advance with your pension company, too. 

Step #5 – Finally, get mentally prepared.  Make a bucket list of all the things you always wanted to do but never had the time.  At first it is hard to let yourself think so freely, but once you start you realize how much you want to do with your added time.  I was surprised at all the little, inexpensive things on my list, like reading books and learning to crochet. 

I hope this information gives you the confidence to retire and enjoy the best part of your life.  Remember that being retired is a huge benefit in itself and outweighs some things you might have to forfeit when you retire.

Retirement is about having more time to do the things you enjoy.