A Real Cowgirl

I had another photoshoot weeks ago and haven’t made time to post them.  The photographer wanted to do a western shoot with someone who “looked the part”.  Ha.  I guess my dusty boots and chaps did the trick.   This was fun but super cold.  The sun was going down and I was chilly.  I really love the lighting… he’s very talented.  These first two are edited:



The rest are raw.   I call this one, “Are my toes still down there?  I can’t feel them. That’s funny!”



The light… she is leaving.



How’s my hat? Straight? Okay, good.



Super cool sky is upstaging me.


It got dark so we took a few fitness ones inside.  They were just okay.



It was hard to be impressed by these after the sky looked so cool.

It will probably be a while before I can shoot again… now that I’m mooooooooving.  Sigh.

So much work to be done.  So.  Much.

And I’m hoping I can still be a cowgirl in my new location.  Not so much in posed pictures, but more like this:



Dusty boots, messy hair, hay on my shirt and sharing oatmeal with apple crunches.  I’m offering Little Joe some from my hand, but he’d rather finish the container.  Love.

Think I can get him to come with me?






The Rules of TV News According to Me

I have been helping a co-worker with script-writing, and it occurred to me just how many pet peeves I have with writing in general, and TV news writing in particular.  I was actually getting fired up about it just relating them to him.

So in case anyone out there is trying to break into the TV news business… or maybe you’ve just always wondered why I so often yell at the TV… here ya go… the basic rules of TV writing, according to Robyn.

Write to your video.  After all, it’s not radio.  People are looking at pictures while you’re talking.   Talk about them.  It helps.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen an anchor talk about a water rescue, and I’m seeing static pictures of the hospital where they took the victim.  If that’s all you have, talk about where they took him first, and then come back on camera to talk about the other stuff.  Lots of things in life are confusing.  TV news shouldn’t be one of them.

Nothing was completely destroyed.   Please don’t write that.  Please.  It was either destroyed or it wasn’t.  You can’t be a little bit pregnant.

Don’t direct anyone’s attention to the nation’s midsection.  America isn’t a corpse or a mannequin.  Please just use the geographical terms we all do in everyday life. No one goes on vacation to the nation’s midsection.   I would, however, like to visit the nation’s belly button.  I assume that’s in Missouri.

We’re all lucky to be alive.   Can we just agree on that and not use it?  Thanks.

It could have been a lot worse.  Ditto.

Don’t open with yes or no questions.  Do you love the Falcons? Nope.  Now I’ve just turned the channel.  Even if you think it’s a question everyone will say yes to, just say no to writing it.  Remember, you’re writing news, not a quiz.

Sometimes cops get mixed up in drugs, money or violence but they never find themselves on the wrong side of the law.  If you write TV news copy, you’re going to write about a cop or deputy who got arrested at some point.  Resist the urge.  You’re better than that.  Find other words.

Hey!  Did you see that blaze on Channel 7?  Me either.  It’s a fire.  It’s okay to call it a fire twice in the same story.  That’s really the only word for it.  People will understand.

Do you have “more questions than answers” on a story?  That’s okay too.  Just tell us the answers part and save the questions for your editorial meetings.

Didn’t you love those rules? I hope I haven’t completely destroyed your dreams for being a TV writer.  Just remember, it could be a lot worse.  You could find yourself on the wrong side of the law.  Or stuck in a roaring blaze.  When you think about it, we’re all just lucky to be alive.  Some writers wouldn’t be if I were brandishing a firearm…. ooooo.. that’s another one….

Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, the Sequel

I’m way behind on posts but I have some good pictures from surf camp that I want to share.

I went to Witch’s Rock in Costa Rica two years ago and had a great time.  I actually had such a good time, I was a little nervous about going back.  What if it didn’t live up to round one?   It turns out I had no need to worry.   I loved it.  Again.

This time I flew into a closer airport, so I didn’t have to take the four or five hour bus ride to the camp.  It costs a little more to fly into Liberia, but now that I’ve done it both ways, I think it’s worth it.  Last time I made it to camp just in time to fall into bed.   This time I arrived around 1p and got to surf my first day!

Let’s be clear about something.   I am not a great surfer.  I’m not even decent.  But I was able to build a little on what I learned last time, and this time they took me out into the deeper water.

Not that I was excited about that initially….  while we were paddling out I kept telling the instructor, “Ok, this is good.  Let’s stop here.”

“Keep paddling,” he said.   (I swear, this is what surf instructors say more than anything else.  Paddle, paddle, paddle…)

We paddled a little farther and I said, “Ok, this is good.  Far enough for me!”  and he shook his head.

Once he explained what he was doing it made sense.   We were going past where the waves were breaking, into the green water.  It really wasn’t that far, and when we got there the water was calm and we could sit on our boards, our legs dangling in the water, and wait for the perfect wave.

My instructor would spot something in the distance that had yet to become a wave and say, “Ok, now… this one, Robyn, this one…”  and I’d turn around and get ready to… you guessed it…. paddle.

Yes, I did get clobbered quite a few times, but I quickly learned that if I followed my instructor’s words to relax and let the ocean do its thing… they call it the washing machine… then the wave would go back and I would be able to swim to the surface.

Plus, a  lot of the time I wasn’t in over my head once the wave subsided, so that helped me not be a wuss.

Here I am about to pop up on a little wave.  It looks like I’m grabbing the rails (sides of the board) which is a no-no.  You are supposed to have your hands in a push up position, on the board, not on the sides.


But I got up anyway.  Yay!

IMG_8868Just a girl, and her surfboard… and a surf instructor’s head in the background.


… and some boats.

After the lessons I was usually hungry, and would get something to eat at Joe’s – the restaurant also owned by the owner of the surf camp.   It’s where all the campers hang out and discuss their lessons and plan what they’re doing the rest of the day.

IMG_4868This is what you see when you’re eating at Joe’s.  The food is good, but I think most of us came for the view.


IMG_4861I made friends right away.   The lesson times varied according to the tide…

IMG_4860Oh, good.. I can sleep in!  There were some mornings I had a lesson at 6am.  I woke up about halfway through it.

If we had free time, we could grab a friend and go sight-seeing in town.


Hey, town.

We might also get some supplies at the local grocery store, the Super 2001.

IMG_4906They will sell you granola bars and sunscreen, but they won’t accept your Kroger plus card.

For the guests who enjoy some nautical creativity, a water dancing routine is always and option… see earlier post for the video… but here’s my partner in crime Kylie and I recreating one of our most famous poses.


IMG_4972Shane, Andres (instructor), me and Ben.  This was my “class” – just a couple people to each instructor to make sure we get the attention we need.

Ben is French and had a little bit of trouble with the language barrier.  Andres was trying to tell him he was paddling too much (wasn’t my issue for sure) and was shouting to him, “Easy, easy” but Ben paddled harder and came over to us.

“What are you doing?” Andres asked.  “I said easy.  Easy means like lightly, slower, not so hard.”

“Oh!  I thought you were saying ‘ici! ici!’ ”   That means “here” in French, so he paddled right over.

Just like last time, there were dogs everywhere… on the beach, hanging out at restaurants…  this dog sat nicely by our table and waited for me to drop some fries.


That’s intensity.  She really liked fries.

In addition to the surf lessons in the water, they also have nightly seminars.  Here you see Isaac demonstrating the proper position on the board.


IMG_4856My room.  I stayed at their sister location this time, just a five minute walk down the road.

IMG_4863Yes, I stayed at the “Cocodrilo” – named for the group of crocodiles that used to hang out in the back.  “That was a long time ago,” the manager assured me.

I never did see a croc, but I spotted several of their distant cousins hanging out by the pool.


Bottom line, there’s really no place like it.  Some of the people I met this trip had been there three or four times.  I know it seems funny to go back to the same vacation spot when there are so many other options, but I love it there.


Hold that thought, Tamarindo… I’ll be back.


Synchronized Swimmers

One afternoon at surf camp I headed to the pool after my lesson, and found a 9-year-old girl named Kyra.  She asked my name and then we quickly became friends by doing handstands in the pool, and just being silly and in general having a good time.

Her parents had been having lunch at the attached open air restaurant, so they saw us and wandered over.  After the introductions her mom said, “I see you must have some experience hanging out with nine-year-old girls” – which didn’t sound nearly as creepy as it does here.

Anyway, I assured her that I did, and that we were having fun, and then Kyra decided that we should put on a synchronized swimming show.

After a few practices we were ready to perform.



Photo Shoot Results

I feel very behind on posts. I still want to share some more about surf camp, but I also had these pictures I wanted to share from my photo shoot a while back.

I will go ahead and admit that posting pictures of yourself is kinda egotistical, but my mom reads this blog and she likes pictures of me. Right, mom?

We did a cowgirl theme and a fitness sort of them and then mixed them. He said after he took the last one, “You have to make an album now, because I just shot your album cover.”

Look for that …. sometime in 2023.

Anyway, I got the pictures back so here are a few of my favorites.   It was a fun shoot.