Overthinking the Derby 2021

It’s the First Saturday in May and a Beautiful Day for the 147th Run for the Roses in the 12th race at Churchill Downs. Unless there are changes this morning, there will be 19 horses running in the Kentucky Derby this year. How do we pick a winner??

As Paul Simon wrote: “The problem is all inside your head, she said to me. The answer is easy if you take it logically…” there must be 50 ways to bet the Derby…

Logic–Ha! You can bet by choosing your favorite horse name, jockey, owner, trainer, silk colors, horse color… You can pick by pace, speed, past performances, or take a tip from one of the many “professionals”.

You could choose by the Odds, but I’m ranting about those… In fact, I’m put out that there are so many horses in this race at all, something I moan about every year. This year really underscores my complaint: Of the 19 horses running, Nine have odds greater than 40-1, Three have odds greater than 30-1, and 4 have odds greater than 10-1. That leaves you with Three — just 3 — horses and one of those, Essential Quality, has a morning line of 6-5 (that ain’t no odds at all).

Essential Quality, a beautiful gray horse who is unbeaten in his Five starts during the Prep Races, does look like a Super Horse. Sired by Tapit and out of Delightful Quality, he is bred and owned by Godolphin, trained by Brad Cox and jockey Luis Saez sits aboard. He’s in the #14 post position and certainly appears to be sure bet– but nothing is sure in this race despite those odds.

The other two horses with odds below 10-1 are Hot Rod Charlie and Rock Your World. I latched on to Hot Rod because of his name, reminding me of my cousin-in-law, Charlie Pierson. Who wouldn’t bet a horse named after him, and with odds 7-1? Rock your World is fast and will set the pace, but can he go the distance? I dunno, because he doesn’t have a whole lot of experience.

The four horses with odds between 10 and 20 to 1 are more my style: Known Agenda, Medina Spirit, Midnight Bourbon, and Highly Motivated. I’m angsting over All of them. As a true over-thinker, I’ve followed the Derby Prep Races which started in January. Points are assigned to each win, place, or show of those races and these four have shown themselves to be strong contenders.

Of the also-rans, only Soup and Sandwich appeals to me. He is a light gray with Spunk and I love his name.

I place my bets online with Twin Spires and they sent me a $10-money-back offer. If I make a $10 Win bet and that horse comes in second or third, I will get my money back; that sort of makes up for the short odds on Essential Quality, so I’ll wager $10 that he will win.

Medina Spirit, a Baffert horse, is a sure bet for me across the board, as is the afore-mentioned Hot Rod Charlie. For my show and combo bets, it’s between Known Agenda, Midnight Bourbon, Highly Motivated, and Soup and Sandwich.

The odds are changing even as we speak. I’m still befuddled and bewildered, so I’ll turn to my Ace in the Hole: Let the grandies pick…

Good Luck!

Sunday Report 4-25-2021

The Sun is Shining! This last week has been intermittently gloomy and gray and I’ve counted the days until the predicted return of warmth. We did set a record for the 1.5inches of snow we got on Wednesday/Thursday, but no one I know celebrated. We covered our perennials for two nights as the temps plummeted, and Now they look as relieved as I feel. As I’ve mentioned, in this neck of the woods we’ve had freezes well into May, but my trusty forecaster seems certain that we’ve seen our last frost. The peas and potatoes don’t care, of course, and are just growing like champs.

It was a busy week Inside, though, as I caught up with some family members and friends. I took advantage of the indoor-time to write up the Irish Ancestors, but it will be a wee bit before I publish it. My friend, Kathy, is visiting her sisters in Carmi and I drove over there for some luncheon on Friday. After a delicious meal, we drove out to the Big Prairie Cemetery to find the gravesite of my great-grandmother “Gainsey” and her #2 husband, Jack. It was a mite breezy, but the sun was out and it was a pleasant stroll. I like the Peace of a cemetery.

Today I’m going to put the perennials in the Peace/Bird Garden: coreopsis, liatris, and pineapple sage. The birds are still keeping the feeders busy and we spotted our first hummingbird yesterday! He/she was here and gone, but what an awesome harbinger of Spring.

My wish right now is to be able to sleep with the windows open, so that the Dawn Chorus of Birds wakes me every morning. I’m looking out for the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks that visit each Spring; my birder-friend, Sharon Sorensen, wrote about them in the local paper today. I didn’t realize that they fly by night and navigate by the stars. There’s a sermon there…

Today is the First Day of Derby Week! Have you picked your horse? I’ll give you my picks in a Special Edition this week. I have my eye on a couple of not-favorites, but those favorites look strong, too… You can count on me to Overthink it to oblivion…

Get your hat ready! It looks like it’s going to be a pretty day for a horse race on Saturday…


Sunday Report 4/18/2020

If you’re a regular reader of my stories and reports, you may remember how last year I got kicked out of my Favorite plant place because I told the owner, who I considered a friend, that she should be wearing a mask. Here’s what I wrote last year…

Wow, that was awkward… April 19, 2020

I’ve been soo looking forward to getting down to my local plant place this morning.  I had read an FB post that said she’d require masks and gloves, limit the amount of people inside (it is very small and crowded with plants), and so I felt she was doing her best to keep us all safe.  I was very disappointed when I saw that she was Not wearing a mask and I said so as I walked in.

She went off on me.  I mean, she was hollering at me, shaking, tears…Told me that the Dept. of Health said she and her employees cannot wear masks and that the problem was with the shoes…that I would need to go home and bleach my shoes after I shopped… My jaw dropped, under my mask, and I said, I’m sorry.  I was thinking about You; I’m wearing a mask.  She yelled that my mask wasn’t doing me any good (per the Health Dept.) I was wearing gloves and she shouted that I couldn’t wear those gloves in and they had an employee standing there (no mask) handing out gloves (no social distancing). She howled that she and her employees are not sick…(you could still be a carrier) I tried to calm her down, but she kept on wailing that I just don’t know how scared she is and how hard she’s working.  (good thing she’s not a nurse) She was screaming all this standing about a foot away from me and realized how close she was, so she stepped back a couple of feet and kept yelling,  Inside people stopped and stared, many of them not wearing masks, many of them crowded together.  During the rant she said the Health Dept. told her she is not allowed to Make people wear masks. This went on a little longer until I said, If you’re going to keep yelling at me I guess I’ll just leave.  She said Go.  I was shaking by that time, so that was that.

That place has been a part of my life since I started gardening 20+ years ago and I’m already grieving it. I love those people and support them even in the winter time when they’re just a convenience store.  The yelling lady is a kind person and I forgive her for her tirade, but there was no social distancing going on by her or her employees and they were Not Wearing Masks to protect themselves.  I hope they’re all okay and remain healthy.


Fast forward through a year that went rather slow-motion through rising numbers of Covid cases and deaths. I have already been up to Hillside Nursery for my veggies and bought some herbs, as well, but I miss the variety of perennials and herbs that I could Always find at Ronnie’s Fruit Stand, the business that had thrown me out. I checked out her FB page and Lo! and Behold!, she was taking appointments, limiting people to 20-25 at a time, emphasizing that All should wear masks as she feels our statewide mandate was rescinded too soon. I wondered, but I was ready to shop and Opening Day was the next morning. I signed up for a 9am appointment.

When I got there, I saw that the Owner was busy helping people, wearing a mask. I slinked around and back to the Herb Section and it was like heaven to see full racks of hard-to-find favorites of mine like lemon verbena and pineapple sage, and there was plenty of basil. In the perennial section I picked up some liatris and coreopsis, chatting away with other shoppers, just so glad to be back. As I stood in line to check out, the owner came up to speak to me…

“I’m really sorry about what happened last year. I’m so glad you are here and I was so wrong to act the way I did. ”

I answered, “It’s okay, I know you were really stressed.” and we shared a big masked, vaccinated, almost post-Covid hug. “Have you stayed well?”

Tears came to her eyes as she replied, “No. On May 1 I got sick. I almost died. I thought I was going to die.” We shared another hug. Note that May first was less than two weeks after our encounter.

So I’m glad to be able to run back and forth for plants at my old stomping ground, but saddened that the messages about how to avoid being infected were so mixed. I’m sure glad my friend recovered.

We’re supposed to have frosts and snow flurries this coming week, so my plant-babies will be taken in and out of the shed for a while longer. Spring takes its time, but I’m hoping that will be our last frost.


Sunday Report 4-11-2021

After three weeks of gallavanting, it’s nice to be back home. Tuesday was my first full day and it was a doozy: spring blooms waving in a soft wind, woodlands greening, cotton-candy clouds played hide and seek with the sun in the — yeah, I’m going to say it –azure sky.

The gardens drew me in and I spent a good part of the day outside cleaning the porches and shuffling around some plants. We moved the bird feeders from the Peace Garden and raked up the sunflower husks as best we could. The coneflower and rudbeckia are coming up nicely.

I must admit, however, that I have been tired. Wednesday Jessica, Olivia, and Samantha spent the day with me while a new furnace was installed at their house. They do school all day, so I learned a few things, but I needed a nap…

On Thursday I started a Photo Project, pulling out all the photos (again). There are so many, and some I’d forgotten. After studying up on the ancestors, I’ve come to know them better; their faces seem familiar. The not-so-familiar face is Me, but I have another project for those…a little later. The Current Project is to frame up a dozen or so and listen to them. We all know Every Picture Tells A Story…

It’s a slow process, as you can imagine. Since it’s also time to start seeds, I’m pretty sure my table will be covered over for a while. Be on the Look-Out for the Garden Blog…


Early Report 3-28-2021

I am always a little sad when our Disney vacations end, but my heart is overflowing with memories of walking hand in hand with these girls…

We arrived at Sebastian Inlet State Park and set up camp about 3pm; spent the afternoon and evening wandering around. After a beautiful sunset…

the full moon rose just behind our campsite…

The plan is to hang here for a while, then drive by my cousin Kim’s place for a visit. We’ll head up to Lake City for the night, get up early and be back at Sonnystone tomorrow afternoon.

It’s been a Magical Trip…


Late Report 3-21-2021

Last night at the campground, we enjoyed Goldie’s new amenities…

We slept well and were up early, arriving at Pop Century around 10:30. After moving in to our room, we grabbed a bus over to Disney Springs and met up with the Jrs..

After a little shopping, we’re back at Pop, relaxing, resting up for the next five days of Magic.

It was an interesting trip…Somewhere near Chula, Georgia we saw the usual treasonous display…

And again, just north of Lake City, FL…

Tell me again: who won that war?

We’re going to have a great time this week. Hope you do, too…


Midweek Missive

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Erin go bragh!

I ran into a little problem over at the Garden Blog: I’m out of storage for uploads (pictures and what-not). I have to either upgrade ($$) that site or go through ten years of posts and start deleting. As we prepare to leave town on Saturday, I don’t have time for either of those fixes, so I’ll decide later. For now, I present to you, the first Garden Journal entry of 2021.

The Edible Garden in Winter…

The garden is still covered with its winter mantle of leaf mulch, but we cleared enough over in the corner to plant some peas. I planted our tried-and-true Oregon Sugar Snap and added Little Marvel this year, just for fun.

I didn’t want to take up the space for potatoes, so we are trying out these 10-gallon growing bags with cool viewing window and sturdy handles.

They came in a pack of four, so we planted three red in one, three gold in another; now we’ll wait a month and plant the other two bags. It seems a lot easier than digging trenches and hilling, so I hope they produce! Keep on Growing!

We’ll celebrate the Arrival of Spring while driving south for our vacation at Walt Disney World. After our return, we’ll begin our seed starting and get serious…Plus I’ll figure out what to do about the other blog.

Wishing you All the Blessings you can handle, from the bottom of my Scots-Irish Heart…


Sunday Report 3/14/2021

We finished up the Upstairs and it doesn’t look too bad, if I do say so myself.

Of course, when I say “finished” I actually mean “got to a stopping point”. There’s more painting to do and we haven’t even started on the bathroom, but that’s for another time because…

We’re into The Countdown to Disney 2021…! 7 days from today we will be at our resort and the Jr. girls are stoked… I’m pretty excited myself. We’re getting Goldie ready and she’s looking good. The weather is predicted to be warm and I’m angsting over pasty-white legs, but I think I’ll survive.

We’re going to plant our peas and potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day and that seems like a good time to fire up the Garden Blog, Growing Every Season. I hope you you’ll take a gander at that on Wednesday.

See ya next week at Walt Disney World!


Sunday Report 3/7/2021

Don’t be fooled by the beautiful weather, don’t be taken in by the abundant sunshine, bluest of skies, or the buds on the forsythia–it’s Not Spring…yet. It’s time for the crocus and the snowdrops to pop up, and the buds are in sync with the season. It’s time to plant peas and potatoes and any other cool weather crops, but don’t get too carried away, and be prepared with covers for the crops when winter returns for its final frost, as it inevitably will.

Inside the house, we’re finishing up some painting in our upstairs bedroom where Casey put up new beadboard. We’ve moved a lot of the furniture to the attic, shuffled the rest around, and cleaned the filth that has accumulated.

We found a couple of twin-size headboards on the fb marketplace for $15 each; our mattresses are scheduled to arrive today, just in time for us to put it all back together and move on to outside work.

The Best News from the last week has been the announcement that I can travel to New York without covid testing or quarantining! I am going to see the New Yorkers! The last time I was with Emma and Eliza was last July when they visited for two weeks. I have gone this long without seeing them before, but the last time I saw them in their natural habitat was Christmas 2019, 15 months ago!

I am so excited to return to NYC and visit Emma’s new school, their new Irish Dance School, and Hug them until they squirm out of my clutches.

First, though, we’ll be setting out with the Jrs. for Disney World on the 20th. After a week there, we’ll head over to Sebastian Inlet State Park to do a wee bit of camping and a certain birthday celebration in Melbourne. Returning home on the 29th, that will give me enough time to do the laundry and fly off to New York on the 31st to spend the last days of the New York Spring Break with the EEs.

Back in September, I merged my garden and ancestry blogs with my primary blog Sonnystone, thinking, correctly, that more people would read them. Last week I changed my mind. I can’t explain why, exactly, because it’s a lot of work to move 45 posts and re-publish them, but I like working on each topic individually. I also un-earthed my old travel blog, down for a couple of years, and started moving any trip posts; that will take longer and since it’s called “Trailer Trippin”, it will have to be re-branded, probably as Adventures with Goldie or some-such.

So, I’m Busy again. I love it. The Jrs. are coming over for a Disney Movie this afternoon. The week looks Sunny. Hope yours does, too.