Friday, December 31, 2010

I Should Have Stayed Home

I decided to go to the barn yesterday to feed the horses warm mash and carrots. My husband suggested I gas up the truck while I was out so I headed to a station that would give me ten cents off per gallon due to grocery purchases. This station is on the opposite side of town from where we live but close to the stable. Guess who managed to lock herself out of the truck? Guess whose cell phone was locked inside the truck? The man inside the convenience store part of the gas station claimed no telephone access so I crossed the parking lot to get to the grocery store, thinking they of course must have a pay phone. I did have my wallet in hand since I'd used a credit card to pay for the gasoline. The temperature wasn't all that cold but the blankety-blank wind kicked up making it seem so. Gloves and hat inside truck? Check. Apparently pay phones are a thing of the past but a kind store employee let me use their business phone. Of course I had to be interrogated by my husband as to how I performed this miraculous feat but he did agree to rescue me.

Once I was safely ensconced back in my vehicle I headed for the barn. The farrier was there and he happens to work in the area where my coffee pot to heat water for mash is kept. So I tiptoed around him and whatever horse he was working on trying not to get in the way. The owner of the stallion laughed at me as I announced that I was going to walk behind him and "Please don't kick me." He's not mean but he is a stallion so I give him a wider berth than some of the other horses. One of the mares getting worked on doesn't like to be cross tied so she was dancing around making entry and exit interesting. I just kept shoving carrots down her maw whenever I passed so she'd be too occupied to think about kicking me. It's a good thing I never had kids as I'd probably be constantly feeding them in an attempt to make them behave.

So, one of the areas where horses are kept is a large ring with two stalls at the opposite end from the gate. There are usually two horses in the stalls and two loose out front. I will brave my way to the stalls, depending on which horses are loose. I think most horse people will tell you it's not wise to carry a bucket of carrots into a situation where the horses aren't contained. I know that so why did I do it? I had one bucket of mash and one of carrots. I should have shoved a handful of carrots in my pocket so I wasn't waving a red flag of temptation. But no, I set both buckets inside the pen as I fasten the gate and promptly have a head in the carrot bucket. I manage to shoo the horse away but note that I'm getting more of a close up rear view than I'm comfortable with. I quickly dole out the mash and carrots to the loose horses. Generally that will keep them occupied until I can reach the stalled horses and get them taken care of. Lots of times I can even make my exit unchallenged. You can imagine how thrilled I was to have the more aggressive of the horses run full bore towards me. She wanted more. I should explain that this is a two year old filly who doesn't have all her manners yet. Somewhat of an equine juvenile delinquent. So when I shoo her she turns around and kicks me a glancing blow on my arm. Okay, I capitulate and give her another scoop of mash so I can make my exit in safety. One of the helpers was on his way to move her to a stall and informed me that she can be "naughty." No shit, Sherlock. But it was my own damn fault and fortunately I didn't even get a bruise.

Tonight we are having a rib roast since I goofed at Christmas. Tomorrow the tree and decorations come down and 2011 calendars will go up.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve and best wishes for a great 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Did I Lose A Day?

So many of the blogs I read are wishing everyone a Happy New Year's. Isn't New Year's Eve tomorrow and New Year's Day Saturday? I know there's nothing wrong with extending greetings a day early but what will they write about tomorrow? Unlike me, maybe they have celebration plans and will be too busy to write. What will I do with nothing to read? (Oh yeah, it's all about me)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Making Up A Word


Perhaps "twidiot." No definition needed.

It's probably already in use but I promised my husband that I'd submit it to the virtual world.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Craptastic Photography

Cardinal display. I wish we had them here in Alaska.
Blurry tree. I think it moved.
I've inadvertently started a cookie jar collection. Send help.

Last but not least/Swiped from
84 year old Hugh Hefner is engaged to a 24 year old woman who understands that even though Hugh is 84, he is still a multi-millionaire.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Barnyard Nativity


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It will soon be Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. Don't! The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, please, have some standards!

10. One final tip: Wear sweatpants/loose fitting clothing. If you are leaving the party and you can walk without help from a construction forklift, "you haven't been paying attention, people!" Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

¡Ay, caramba!

Traditionally, we have a rib roast for Christmas dinner. I buy them on sale and we wrap them in plastic wrap, foil and then place them in seal-a-meal bags for freezing. My husband claimed he couldn't find a roast in the freezer. I confidently pulled a package out. Upon unwrapping, it turned out to be pork ribs so that is what we're having for Christmas this year (I am labeling EVERYTHING from now on) Potato salad and baked beans for sides? How very 4th of July.

Still have a few gifts to wrap (so why am I on the computer?) and hope to visit the barn today and hand out carrots and peppermints.

Although I'm generally not a King James kind of gal, I do love this version of John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, be it time spent alone contemplating your blessings or a raucous, family and friends filled day.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

She Flies Through The Air

Really, with great ease when the horse tosses you. So I've now lived through my first bona fide hitting the dirt via horse. I don't know why she spooked at another horse kicking in his stall since it happens all the time, but she did. I remember yelling "Whoa" - forget about exhaling to stop like normal - and the next thing I knew I was on my back with my instructor yelling at me not to move. I'm not sure if she bucked or reared, it happened so fast, but I know I didn't just slide off, I was definitely airborne. The other student said it looked like slow motion. So I lay there for a few moments, again giving thanks for helmets, before getting back to my feet. I'm a little sore today but don't appear to have any bruises. I think I'll ship my helmet to the manufacturer to have it checked for damage not apparent to the naked eye. It's had two hard knocks now so better to be safe than sorry. I did not get right back on the horse as the old saying dictates since it happened at the end of the lesson. I actually have a two week break since my instructor is going out of town. I'm not afraid to ride again; actually the flying part was kind of exhilarating but I guess I won't be disappointed if I never experience it again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Libations To Warm You To Your Tootsies


One gallon apple cider
1 - 6 ounce can frozen orange juice
1 - 6 ounce can frozen lemonade
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat slowly. Suggestion: Put cloves and allspice in a spice ball so you can get them out easier.
Enjoy. Taste stronger the next day!

I got this recipe from my girlfriend after I had it at Thanksgiving. My only suggestion might be to cut back on the brown sugar as it's pretty sweet.

Now, for those of you who imbibe in adult beverages...

Hot Buttered Rum

Cream together:
1 lb. brown sugar
1 lb. confectioners sugar
1 lb. butter
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Add 1 quart softened vanilla ice cream.

Place two tablespoons in mug, add one shot rum and fill with boiling water.

Batter will last a year in refrigerator. This makes a nice gift for friends who indulge when packaged in a fancy jar.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

No Jingle Bells for Me

I made a set of red, white and green rhythm beads with eight jingle bells for the horse I ride. She seemed cool with them when I strung them over her head. We walked out to the arena where my instructor said, "Do I hear bells?" and promptly made me take them off the horse. Seems that despite the claim that rhythm bells are soothing to horses, some horses freak and even if "my" mare didn't object, other horses in the arena might. My instructor said that she had a student once who had a tin of Altoids in her pocket that scared the horse she was riding into running away with her. I can totally appreciate the liability issues but now have a useless decoration. Anybody want them? They're about 66" and fit a Belgian cross perfectly.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Need to Wire My Mouth Shut

I used to be very circumspect in choosing my words so as not to offend anyone. I wouldn't qualify for Miss Congeniality as I tended to rebuff unwanted overtures but tried to do so as politely as the situation warranted. Lately I notice that inappropriate phrases are springing from my mouth. Is this a sign of old age or just that I've been suppressing my opinions so long that my subconscious won't stand for it any longer? I was at a leather store yesterday buying supplies to make a rhythm necklace for the horse I ride. I thought the jingle bells on it would be fun for Christmas. The pattern calls for an alligator clip to fasten to the horse's mane. The kid at the store did not know what an alligator clip was so I query, "Haven't you ever smoked a roach?" Now this kid is covered in tattoos with a stud in the middle of his tongue. Wouldn't you suspect he'd been exposed to the demon weed? He claimed that he never had. My bad. Of course then I wanted to mutter something about "kids these days" and "the younger generation" but I managed to get control of my mouth.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching,  Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness,  Faithfulness,
 Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening.
Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come

1. The Post Office. Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.
2. The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.
3. The Newspaper. The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.
4. The Book. You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.
5. The Land Line Telephone. Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.
6. Music. This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."
7. Television. Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.
8. The "Things" That You Own. Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.
In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.
9. Privacy. If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.
All we will have that can't be changed are Memories.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fear and Safety

NuzMuz had an entry a few days ago about her neighbor who was injured in a freak accident by a horse. Apparently the horse bumped the woman so that she hit her head, passed out and woke up in the hospital. Her recovery hasn't been fast nor easy. My initial reaction was to think that maybe I should start wearing my helmet every time I'm near a horse. Then I remembered Pioneer Woman's blog and her four young kids riding the range wearing cowboy hats, baseball caps or nothing at all. They also work cattle in chutes in extremely close quarters, sans protective gear. Does that make PW a bad/uncaring mother? I don't think so.

I'm 58. I rode in cars before seat belts were invented. We rode our bikes and roller skated without the benefit of helmets or knee/elbow pads. Most of us survived. How much fun was it to sit on the tailgate of a truck or station wagon as it drove down a deserted road? Are today's kids allowed to climb trees or is that too dangerous?

I don't believe that there is a right or wrong answer to personal safety. I think we all have our individual comfort levels for risk taking and something I might not consider hazardous would give a more cautious person hives.

I believe to a certain degree in fate and that what happens is God's will. As such, I will continue to take what I believe are sensible precautions but not get carried away trying to keep myself from injury or death. Life is for the living and not the cocooned.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Game Playing

I'm still working on mounting the horse unaided. The mare allows me to lead her to the mounting block with minimal resistance. Once I climb up to the third step she swings her butt away from the block making the stirrup unreachable. I climb back down and move her back. Rinse and repeat. My instructor maintains that once the mare understands that I am serious and not about to let her get away with this nonsense that (hopefully) she will stop testing me. Do not get mad. Do not get frustrated. Just keep correcting her until she stands still. Once mounted give her a lot of praise. (Honestly, I don't think she cares about praise; she only tolerates me because I give her carrots after class) Oh, and dumb me managed to not get the girth tight enough again yesterday and the saddle slipped. No wonder the horse "dislikes" me. Plus the instructor had me trotting without stirrups. I'd hate to have me jarring around on my back. Who invented the sitting trot and why?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Better Weather

At least as far as I'm concerned. It snowed Thursday so Thanksgiving Day was the first time I'd left the house since I'd grocery shopped on Sunday. I took the Ford since I was bringing food along and the truck is already starting to acquire a horsey smell, especially once the interior temperature warms up. Anyway, the front wheel drive with all-weather tires worked like a champ. Friday I finally made it to the stable for my lesson. I arrived about two hours early with a couple of jugs of hot water so I could mix warm mash for the horses. It was a lot of fun but I'm going to take a big spoon and a ladle for next time. I was mixing with my hands and giving each horse a couple of handfuls. One of the two year olds was so excited that she tried to eat out of my hand as I was dumping her share in her stall and managed to get one of my fingers. Ouch! I also was reminded that I should wear gloves when touching frozen metal objects outside with mash dampened fingers. I almost reenacted the scene from A Christmas Story when the kid touches his tongue to a frozen metal pole. My husband has ordered me a 30+ cup coffee maker that I will take to the barn to heat water in. Oh, guess I should mention that the stable doesn't have hot water or inside plumbing. Nothing like a port-a-potty in the freezing dark. Man, I must really love horses.
Moving "my" big mare from her barn on a downhill slope to the riding arena was an exciting trip since she slipped a couple of times on the ice. I read somewhere that you're supposed to lead from the horse's right side but next time I'm going to stay on her left since it's uphill from where she's walking. I don't want to be under her if she goes down.
The weather is supposed to get colder, below zero at night, so hopefully the driving conditions will stay good. I'm off to shovel a couple of inches of snow that fell last night.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Psalm 118:1 NIV

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

I wish everyone a wonderful and peaceful Thanksgiving. May you find joy in remembrance of your blessings.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Rain on ice. Treacherous road conditions. I bailed on my riding lesson yesterday and have already called and canceled tomorrow's. I feel somewhat guilty thinking about my instructor having to move all those horses around in this lousy weather. I'm hoping she has help. I keep telling myself she'd been doing this for years before I even knew the stable existed so is not going to be mad at me for a no-show. The weather forecast says is should start to get colder next week. Hard to believe I'm looking forward to that. Some snow to give traction wouldn't hurt either.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cowboy Dressage

Here is the link to Wolf Creek Ranch:

They performed at this year's World Equestrian Games and have a clip on their site:

There are other video clip links that you can access from their site.

Lastly, I love their motto: When Dressage suits your needs but a Stetson suits your lifestyle

I imagine my instructor would not be adverse to me doing this if I'd foot the bill for my own horse and equipment. Somehow I doubt that I'm getting a pony for Christmas.

I'm happy to report that I've regained my riding skills and have even improved a little since my vacation. I'm actually feeling pretty secure in the saddle and don't feel like I might fall off. This is enabling me to refine my seat and work on using my legs more and knees, heels, reins less. "My" horse is really fuzzy with her winter coat and is actually sweating more than she did during the warmer months. I've had to blow dry her twice so far. My husband is incredulous that I'm doing this.

Nuzzling Muzzles mentioned a clinician I had never heard of the other day in her blog - GaWaNi Pony Boy - so I checked out his web page. He has books, etc., available and I was especially intrigued by two titles - Of Women and Horses and Women and Horses: More Expressions of the Magical Bond.

I find this an intriguing theory. I'm not sure that either of these books will explain it but the stories told should be very entertaining.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Back in the Saddle

...and feeling every ache and pain. I can't believe how out of shape I've become in just two weeks. I rode without stirrups on Monday and didn't hurt too badly but the majority of the lesson was at a walk. I only trotted in short spurts. Wednesday I used the stirrups and trotted a lot. Yesterday I could hardly walk. These were things I was doing before with minimal discomfort. I feel better today and ready to go do it again this afternoon. Now, if my cold would only subside so I could breathe through my nose. Mouth breathing around horses isn't recommended.

My boxes of California shopping extravaganza arrived yesterday and everything seems to be in one piece. I got some of my Christmas gifts purchased so have a little head start on that.

We're going to take the truck out today and see what it would cost to have a hard cover put on it. Apparently there is one made that folds up for easy access to the bed when needed. My husband doesn't want to have to keep shoveling snow out of the bed and a fabric tarp wouldn't hold up under the weight of a heavy snowfall.

Does anyone know if when a horse kind of lips at you, not using teeth, as you're working around it means it likes you or not? I can't tell if it's a friendly gesture or a warning of things to come. Paranoid much?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Headed to Alaska

Returning home today. Will be a shock from a record high of 100 degrees in San Diego on Thursday to freezing temps. Good bye sunshine. It was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wet Stuff Falling From The Sky

I'm starting my second week in California and it's raining again. Most of this past week has been sunny and beautiful. I can't begrudge the rain too much as I've been here during the horrendous fires they've had in the past. What a nightmare.

My brother and I drove up to Julian yesterday. It's such a cute little town. The shops are geared towards tourists like me and have many eye-catching and tempting items. It is sad, however, to see that so many Americana themed items are made in China. I often wonder what their workers must think of the items they create. I'm sure they don't have the expendable income to throw away on such trinkets.

Thursday night we saw a play called "The Glory Man" at a theatre on Coronado Island. It was about an idealist who started an interracial commune in Georgia before such an idea would be accepted by many blacks or whites. Neverending struggles but the couple who founded Habitat For Humanity became members so it ultimately succeeded, albeit in a different direction than the original agricultural community.

Today we are going to a Christmas store because you can never have too many Christmas decorations. I believe I have enough cardinal ornaments to do a small cardinal tree this year. Just need to figure out where I could set it up.

Will drive up to San Juan Capistrano Wednesday to meet my BFF for lunch. Also need to visit Fashion Valley mall and Viejas outlet center. No trip of mine would be complete without them. I did go to two tack stores here but they are very much geared to Western riding and had very little in the way of English togs. Did find one pair of riding tights. Oddly enough they don't stock fleece lined ones so I will return to Alaska for those.

Had my eyebrows tattooed Tuesday. They originally were pretty frightening and I thought made me look like an angry clown - they were that stark. The scabbing is starting to flake off and they appear more natural. I think I'm going to be very happy with them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What a week!

The babysitting went well Thursday. She is old enough now that she realized what Mom meant when she said good-bye so had a minor breakdown. Fortunately she is easily distracted and was back to her usual happy self quickly. We had a good time. Most of the "games" involve handing an object back and forth and of course peekaboo is always a big hit with the toddler set. Now that she's walking she is no longer interested in being held. She was pretty sleepy when Mom and Dad got home and snuggled with her Daddy. Pretty darn cute.

Listed our '84 Ramcharger and '90 Probe on Craigslist about 10:00 Friday night and sold them both yesterday. We bought an '06 Dodge Dakota and an '08 Ford Fusion so hopefully will be good for another twenty years. Unfortunately these newer vehicles aren't compatible with do it yourself mechanics so my husband won't be able to maintain them the way he did our previous vehicles. Now you need to hook up the engines to a computer so you're at the mercy of others. Fortunately, we have an honest mechanic.

Managed to get the last of the leaves raked up yesterday in between taking phone calls and checking e-mails for people interested in the vehicles. We had spiffed up the Probe on Friday and cleaned up the Ramcharger yesterday morning. Managed to get in a shower and have a follow-up with the eye doctor on the contact lenses too. We did order a pizza since neither of us had had time to eat before dinner. Amazing how hunger takes a back seat when you're busy.

So on the horseback riding front my instructor made me get on the horse by myself twice this past week. Normally she would hold the far side of the saddle so it didn't slip as I got on and hold the reins so the horse didn't walk off. Now I'm responsible for keeping the horse from moving and we are having quite the time. She doesn't respond to "Stay!" the way my dogs do. All in all, I'm riding better and my husband said he could see a lot of improvement from when he last watched me ride about two and a half months ago. He got to meet "my" mare for the first time and was impressed with how large she is (Belgian draft cross). Most of the riders graduate to other horses but I fear my girth may keep me on her forever. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Seems like everyone starts out on her and she is a barn favorite.

Have lots to do before I head to California on Friday. Hopefully this week will be a little less hectic although when I look at all I need to do it doesn't look like it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Notes to me

I'm riding three times a week in an effort to maintain skills, strength, etc. that may be lost when I'm out of state for two weeks later this month and then when instructor will be gone for two weeks in December. This will probably continue until end of year. If possible, I'd like to continue with three a week if I can find a way to work off the third lesson. Yesterday we worked on modified dressage pattern. I need to memorize where all the letters in the ring are so I'm not constantly searching for M, B, etc. So far I'm confident that X is in the middle of the ring. I also had four or five attempts at cantering. Have a ways to go before the horse understands what I want. My husband, who had a horse as a kid, is disdainful when I tell him I need to learn the right cues. He maintains I should just kick the horse until it canters. He's not a fan of English riding in case you can't tell. I am feeling so much more confident and sometimes actually feel like I'm "getting it" and doing everything right.

Have gone back to wearing contacts just for riding because my glasses fogged up so much. Have daily disposables which are easy to maintain - wear once and toss. No maintenance. Tried them out for the first time yesterday and they worked great. My vision had changed quite a bit since my last exam two years ago (for the better) so I'm getting a new pair of glasses. Doctor said he could tell I was compensating by the way I unconsciously held my head to incorporate the bifocal with the distance vision.

We're looking at used cars. Have narrowed it down to an '06 Dodge Dakota to replace the '84 Ramcharger. The Dakota will be checked out by our mechanic before the deal is sealed. We may also replace the '91 Probe with a newer Ford Fusion. Hopefully we can get both vehicles for about $25k, which is less than what one new vehicle costs nowadays.

All the flowerpots have been emptied and stashed for the winter. We've been raking leaves every weekend. Hopefully this coming weekend will be the last.

I get to babysit a one year old on Thursday. I haven't seen her in quite a while so hopefully she remembers me and we have as much fun as we have in the past. She's walking now so I'll have to stay on my toes to keep her in my sight.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's Good For The Goose

An e-mail with admitted poor taste but it does hammer home a point that needs to be made.

I am perplexed that so many of my friends are against a mosque being built near Ground Zero. I think it should be the goal of every American to be tolerant. The mosque should be allowed in an effort to promote tolerance.

That is why I also propose that two gay nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque thereby promoting tolerance within the mosque. We could call the clubs "The Turban Cowboy" and "You Mecca Me So Hot".

Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork and have an open barbeque with spare ribs as its daily special. Across the street a very daring lingerie store called "Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret” with sexy mannequins in the window modelling the goods.

Next door to the lingerie shop, there would be room for an Adult Toy Shop (Koranal Knowledge?), its name in flashing neon lights, and on the other side a liquor store, maybe call it "Morehammered"?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We Don't Care How They Do It Outside*

*Outside in this context means the Lower 48 states

I have been reading books about horse riding/maintenance, etc. (Donna, I've got two books by Mark Rashid on order- thanks for the suggestion) I think the one I'm currently reading must be written by someone from the east coast. It's a good book - don't get me wrong - but she comments on the importance of wearing the proper riding attire when approaching a new stable so that you will be taken seriously. She also calls rental horses "hacks." I always thought a hack was an inferior horse but it apparently means a horse available for non-owners to ride, i.e. lesson horses. My previous misinterpretation of the word causes it to jar me a little every time I read it and she uses the word a lot. Anyway, both the stables I've ridden at here in Alaska have been very easy going about my choice of clothing. Wearing a helmut is the only "must." As I've mentioned before, I'm overweight so wear jeans with an elastic waistband. I'm still reeling at the thought of wearing riding tights. I also originally thought I'd be riding Western so have a very nice pair of Luchesse cowboy boots that I bought in June. Both barns have indicated that the style of boots is unimportant, just so they have a heel so my foot won't slip through the stirrup. Now I admit I'm jonsing for a pair of paddock boots and some half chaps but they will just have to wait.

My computer just deleted a long paragraph I had written and I'm not in the mood to recreate it. My point is that even the supposed "snobby" English only riding stable staff and boarders have been friendly and helpful. It may be because Alaska is so far from mainstream equestrian events that the few horse people up here stick together. Whatever the reason, it sure makes the experience nice for a newby like me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

Here we are in September already. My bruises are gone from my last fiasco and the whole incident has been put behind me. I've had four or five lessons since then without incident. One of the ladies at the stable gave me a video called, "The Rider's Workout" by Cheryl Schuhmann. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. My brother was visiting and just left Monday. He is a reader like me so we visited a couple of book stores. I found some great reference books; one is called "The Horseless Rider" which is for people like me who want to ride but not necessarily own a horse. I also bought "The Idiot's Guide to Horseback Riding." I went to the tack store earlier this week and bought my own curry comb, brush and hoof pick. Like my friend said, it's not that we really need them since the barn has these supplies - it's just fun to have an excuse to buy something horse related. I doubt that the mare I ride will be impressed but the barn cats should like the fact that I now will be carrying treats for them in my carrier. I used to forget them in the car and be too lazy to go get them.

I'd like to make the observation here how great it is to meet people who are as goofy about horses as I am. Who knew there were so many grown women (haven't met any men) who are as juvenile in their feelings about equines as me. We're like a bunch of little kids who are thrilled to be allowed to hang around a stable. Hope the lovin' continues.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Someday I'll Look Back and Laugh

At least I fervently hope so. Yesterday was all about embarrassment for me. I got my horse tacked up and walked out to the arena. After leading her around a few times I got ready to mount. The instructor asked me if my cinch was tight enough and I assured her it was.

I have always had a horrible time mounting. The instructor will stand on the opposite side and hold onto the saddle to counter my weight. My legs don't want to support me and it invariably takes me at least two attempts to get astride. My right foot almost always bumps the horse's rump on the way up and again when I dismount.

So, this is my big moment to get on the horse without assistance. I put my left foot in the stirrup, start to heave myself up (there really is no better way to describe it) and the saddle slipped sideways. My foot caught in the stirrup for a second before I fell backwards hitting the mounting block before the arena floor where my head smacked onto the ground (thank goodness for helmets) Bless my horse for the rock solid mount she is. She just took a couple of steps forward and then stopped. As they say, the worst thing hurt was my pride. Needless to say the instructor once again had to assist me to mount.

I asked her for some suggestions to help strengthen my legs. She told me to hop on one foot for about five hops, then the other foot and gradually increase the number of hops. She said she would rather I only manage a couple without assistance than twenty holding onto something. Imagine my humiliation when I got home and discovered that I can't do this simple exercise. I can't hop on one foot! I played hopscotch as a kid. Where did that ability go?

One positive thing is that I am really motivated to lose some of my excess weight. I was hoping that taking up riding would do it for me but I'm obviously going to have to get in some other daily exercises. Wish me luck and if anyone knows good leg strengthening exercises I would love to hear them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August Update

Screw you, Dell, I'm getting a Mac. My husband is downright giddy at this development and has literally spent hours compiling information, programs and I don't know what-all that he will put into this new (used) computer when it arrives.

My first word processing experience was with a machine by CPT. It was like magic. Up until then a memory Selectric typewriter was the most advanced device I had access to. I loved my CPT and even bought a used one for home, although we never got it up and running because personal computers had arrived. My boss had Macs installed at work so that's what we got for our home computer also. I attended several classes and was somewhat of a power user. Then the powers that be at City Hall decided the city would only use Microsoft computers. Oh, the hair pulling and hate this caused those of us who had to switch. But, as with all things, we adapted with time and I eventually got a Dell for my laptop at home. My husband stuck with Macs and now I'm going back to one. I know I'll like it better once I reacquaint myself with it.

So, on the horseback riding front I've ridden twice at my new stable. I've arranged for twice weekly lessons and really like my new instructor. She is making me ride totally without stirrups to get a really good seat. I'd done that sporadically at my old barn. Man, keeping the horse in line when trotting is a challenge for me. I did do better yesterday than last week so things are slowly coming together. Thankfully my chafe marks will have a few days to heal before I ride again. I really need to work on leg strength also. I had to let out the stirrup in order to be able to reach it to mount from a three step block yesterday. Even then it took me a couple of attempts to hoist my fat ass in the saddle. Thank goodness the horse is part draft and dead broke. I keep apologizing to her and thanking her for her patience with me. I do wonder if the chafeing isn't somewhat caused by her wider girth. I never had this issue with the thoroughbred/quarter horse cross I used to ride.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


My Dell is still infected so I'm using my HP netbook. I installed McAfee on July 3 after using AVG Free for years. McAfee obviously did not catch this malware and now wants almost $90.00 for a one-time fix. I think I'll just get a Mac instead. Windows has too many kinks. Can hardly wait for the gloating from my husband who is a die-hard Mac addict.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Computer Blues

My laptop has been infected with a virus that prohibits me from accessing I can't even leave comments on other's blogger accounts. I believe its a "redirect virus." Any ideas on how to eradicate it will be greatly appreciated. So far there's been no response from Google (who "owns" Gmail and blogger)

Meanwhile, I took a six hour riding clinic last Saturday that left me somewhat battered and bruised. I don't know how cowboys can ride all day long. My lady bits felt hammered so either I have an incorrect seat or they need to toughen up. I had my last lesson at my old stable on Tuesday and will have my first one at the new barn next Monday.

There is an air show this weekend. Sadly, one of the planes practicing for the event crashed Wednesday evening and all four aboard were killed. Apparently the show will still go on; I have mixed feelings.

I'm still reading blogs - just have been forced to keep my opinions to myself. Stop applauding.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Things Are Looking Up

Checked out a new stable to take lessons at and think I've found a good prospect. The only drawback is that I was told that they don't take their horses on trail rides because they're all "show horses." But that's okay because I'm not competent enough to hit the trails yet anyway and it will be nice to have a place to keep on improving my skills, such as they are. Who knows what next summer will bring?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


The stable where I've been taking lessons is closing its doors as of August 1. All the horses have to find new places to board. I have to find a new place to keep riding (and, of course, it's all about me) There are two other places in town that I will check out or maybe start commuting to the Valley - a much longer trip so more time and gas money involved. Gah! Just when I find a hobby I love...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tense much?

My friend's new puppy chillin' on my lap.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thoughts on Freedom (another received e-mail)

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rain, rain go away

My girlfriend is showing her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at an outdoor all-breed this weekend. I helped her set up on Friday and planned to stop by the show today as its fairly close to where I'll have my 1:00 riding lesson. Wet dogs and wet horses. What a treat.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Progress report (for myself)

Two lessons a week. I'm trotting and not falling off. I'm even managing to stay centered on the horse's back. So far I've trotted both in Western and dressage saddles. I'm thinking I'm going to need to get some English riding boots because I feel pretty silly wearing my cowboy boots in English. I've asked for my own helmet for my birthday next month. Still working on using my legs and body instead of relying on reins for steerage. Also need to work on posture. Oh, the instructor had mentioned sitting on the bones of my bottom and I didn't think I'd ever be able to feel them considering the size of my butt. I was wrong. They're definitely there.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Frightening Article

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Staying Busy

I ordered these boots off of eBay and am so happy with them. Comfortable from the get go and since they're made from "destroyed" leather, I figure I can't hurt them.

Why should I need boots this time of year you may ask? I am finally following up on a lifelong dream and learning to ride a horse (see next picture if you're not familiar with equines)

I've gained a lot of weight over the past few years. I used to be a gym rat, working out five days a week and taking an aerobics class on Saturdays. Circumstances in my life made working out a chore instead of a pleasure and I gradually gave it up altogether. I have a gym membership but rarely visit.

Anyway, I knew I needed to do something and asked my husband what he thought about me taking horseback riding lessons (for the record, he laughed) Despite my misgivings due to aforementioned weight, age, and general infirmness, I set up a lesson with a local stable. Two lessons in, I absolutely, positively love it.
Just picking out the hooves is an aerobic activity for me. Then there's the currying, brushing, etc., before you even think about tacking up. I don't know what there is about horses but I enjoy being around them and am restraining myself from going there on a daily basis just to hang out. My birthday's next month and I'm going to ask for my very own helmet. If and when I think I know what I'm doing, I'm going to check into leasing a horse. I kind of doubt if I'll be ready for trail riding this year but hopefully next summer...

My garden is finally weeded out. I picked up a couple of bags of mulch that is supposed to cut down on weed growth so we'll see how it works. My husband thought two bags was plenty, but now agrees I could use four or five more. So that's on my list of things to pick up next time I'm near a gardening center.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

You could have heard a pin drop

This is another e-mail I've received. The author is credited at the end. I don't know if the information is true, if he really put this together or if the contact information is valid. Nevertheless, I felt these points should be shared.

At a time when our president and other politicians tend to apologize for our country's prior actions, here's a refresher on how some of our former patriots handled negative comments about our country.

These are good.

JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when de Gaulle decided to pull out of NATO. De Gaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded, "Does that include those who are buried here?"

De Gaulle did not respond.

You could have heard a pin drop.


When in England, at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of 'empire building' by George Bush.

He answered by saying, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."

You could have heard a pin drop.


There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying, "Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?"

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: "Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?"

You could have heard a pin drop.


A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, "Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?"

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, "Maybe it's because the Brit's, Canadians, Aussie's and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German."

You could have heard a pin drop.



Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.

"You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.

"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."

The American said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."

"Impossible.. Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France!"

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, "Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to."

You could have heard a pin drop.


If you are proud to be an American, pass this on! If not, delete it.
I am proud to be of this land, AMERICA

Edward "Buzz" Fink
UAW Local 2413
937-316-3143 Office
937-316-3300 FAX
937-459-0112 Cell

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Desecration in America

Click title for link to Atlas Shrugs for more details on this.
Much like the mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Islam now plans to violate the sanctity of America's memorial.


Here's a little guy that's been hanging around my feeders. He really likes sunflower hearts and I can see that the 15 pound bag I bought will not last long with him around. He always announces his arrival so there is no doubt when he is in the yard. Speaking of yards, I've been planting flowers and vegetables all week. The container gardening is done so I now have to weed (ugh) the perennial beds. Think I'll transplant some hostas that get overwhelmed by a big fern. Surprisingly the vincas that I transplanted late last year are thriving and actually blooming. I love a self-sufficient plant.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Human Nature's Vicious Circle

Some interesting articles at The Women's Colony today. Seemed to be a lot of reminiscing. One columnist shared the hospital bill from her birth in 1963. Less than $350 for a six day stay. Insurance paid for everything except phone calls. Heck, you can hardly visit a doctor's office for that price nowadays. I am the first to acknowledge that there have been great medical strides made in the past fifty years. Even so, I think most of us question if the costs aren't exorbitant.

I am old enough to say that our first house in 1975 cost less than what some new vehicles go for nowadays ($40,000 for the record) And this was in Alaska. We could have gotten a comparable home in California for less than $20,000. I know this because my in-laws had such a home.

Another lady wrote about the diversity she experienced attending school in Arizona as a child. It was a positive experience. Now this particular writer did not bash today's Arizona but I'm sure everyone is aware that the school board is exhibiting some questionable mandates for teachers. Not to mention they are experiencing some difficulties with illegal aliens.

Mrs. G. shared a heartbreaking story of friendship and her gesture to notify the wrongdoer that his crimes were not unnoticed. Hope he loses some sleep over this at the very least.

I believe most people have a tendency to look upon the past with rose-colored glasses, i.e., "the good old days." Carley Simon sang, "these are the good old days" and I think it would behoove more people to remember that. Children of today will probably look back fondly upon these times.

My husband at this very moment is expounding on "50's values" and how "we're so much more enlightened today" (insert his sarcasm here) Sometimes it's exhausting.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

From my mailbox

DEA officer stops at a ranch in Texas and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs." The rancher says, "Okay, but do not go in that field over there," as he points out the location.

The DEA officer verbally explodes saying, "Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me." Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removes his badge and proudly displays it to the rancher. "See this badge? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish.... On any land. No questions asked or answers given. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?"
The rancher nods politely, apologizes, and goes about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the DEA officer running for his life chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull......

With every step the bull is gaining ground on the officer, and it seems likely that he'll get gored before he reaches safety. The officer is clearly terrified. The rancher throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs.....

"Your badge. Show him your BADGE!"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Something's Up

I can hear the fighter jets from the nearby air force base scrambling this morning. Hope it's just a training exercise.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dear Charitable Organizations

Please, please, please stop sending me address labels. I have more than I can ever use in my lifetime. They are going straight to the shredder. Sending a contribution to you is about the only time I mail a letter nowadays. I don't want any more labels or other gifts to guilt me into giving.

And that's my other beef. I'm not happy that my name has apparently been passed around as a supposed soft touch. I am hearing from agencies that I never knew existed. How did they get my personal information, pray tell?

FWIW, it makes me grumpy and consider not contributing in the future.


My mother-in-law gave me this little birdhouse for Christmas in 2008. I hung it in the yard last year where it remained birdless. You can't imagine how happy I was to see a pair of chickadees going in and out of it the other day. There was also a pair of redpolls that seemed interested.

Every year we have a pair of mallards do a layover in our yard. I noticed they were eating birdseed that had fallen to the ground from my feeders so I bought some cracked corn and set out a dish of water. They come by at least once a day and hang around until I have to let the dogs out. Yesterday evening only the hen made an appearance which caused great consternation on my part. My husband had noticed one of the young men who live behind us running around with a paintball gun yesterday. I bet a paintball could be lethal to a duck. So I fretted about that for a couple of hours. I was so relieved to see both of them when I looked outside at 10:30 - yes, this is the land of the midnight sun and it is just twilight at that hour this time of year.

Here is a picture of my two guys that I took while waiting for a chickadee to cooperate yesterday. They are so happy that we took the jolly balls out of the shed.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Who Says We Can't Grow Stuff in Alaska?

Garage windows

First broccoli crop

Flowers on spool

Fence flowers

Back deck

Petunias on deck

Aaaand, it snowed yesterday (sob)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I've Been Crafting

The strings are bookmarks, or book thongs, made with leather and beads. The doilys are called jug covers, I believe. I copied some I saw in a tea shop. They are used to cover your teacup, sugar bowl, glass, etc. I gave away a couple of each before taking pictures. If I get ambitious I may try to sell these on etsy.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I've probably posted this picture before but it always makes me laugh.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wings' Brian Rafalski slams Tennessee's new 'jock tax'

Associated Press

Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski says Tennessee is unfairly taxing professional athletes to play in the state.

The Red Wings star has been running the numbers, and he estimates 17 teammates will be paying more money in taxes to face off against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night than they will earn for playing the game.

"My complaint with it is ... 17 teammates will be paying money out of their own pocket to play in Tennessee. It's a tax rate of over 100 percent," Rafalski said Friday.

Paying taxes isn't his issue. A total of 18 states now charge what's commonly called a "jock tax" to make money off highly paid pro athletes visiting their teams. But Tennessee's tax, which took effect July 1, 2009, is different from the other 17 because the visitors cannot get any relief through a deduction when filing taxes back home.

Tennessee, which does not have a state income tax, joined a handful of states in taxing professional athletes with what it calls a "privilege" tax that took effect July 1, 2009.

The tax was designed to tap into the wallet of anyone playing for an NHL or NBA team for more than 10 days in a tax period and within the state's boundaries -- the same way the other 17 states hit up pros who play for Tennessee teams. The NFL's Tennessee Titans, based in Nashville, aren't mentioned in the law. And this money heads back to the city of Nashville, home of the Predators, and Memphis, where the NBA's Grizzlies play.

A spokesman with the NHLPA told The Associated Press on Friday that the players union has retained a tax expert to review the legal options in regards to Tennessee's tax.

NBA and NHL players are hit for $2,500 per game with a limit of $7,500 for a maximum of three games. With Rafalski playing in the Central Division, his Red Wings visit Nashville three times a season. Western Conference teams in the NBA visit Memphis only two games per season.

So Rafalski and his teammates wind up paying as much in Tennessee's privilege tax -- $7,500 per season -- as any member of the NHL's Predators or NBA's Grizzlies even though they play up to 41 home games in the regular season alone. Rafalski said he has discussed the tax with Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter.

"It's just not a fair tax," Rafalski said.

The defenseman, who played for the U.S. Olympic team in February, said he estimated he pays taxes in up to 15 different states. Seeing the Tennessee tax withheld from his most recent paycheck didn't help, and Rafalski said he thinks it pushes the limits of constitutionality because visiting athletes, at least from the NHL, wind up being taxed for income not earned in Tennessee.

He would like to see the Tennessee tax challenged legally and said he felt driven to speak up for his teammates, especially since he feels it hits younger NHL players the hardest.

"I am appalled you could have over 100 percent tax rate on anyone. I understand times are tough. The power tax is the power to kill something. I feel strongly about it. It's just the burden.'"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lookin' Out My Front Door

My neighbor was trying to get in her front door so threw snowballs at them. One of them took offense and charged her. Fortunately she was able to hop back in her car in time. I believe these are twin one or two year olds.

Monday, March 22, 2010

On Yesterday's Congressional Decision

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! Patrick Henry

They passed a bill that mandates that I purchase health insurance. If I choose not to do so, I face fines. If I am unwilling or unable financially to pay the fines, I could go to jail.

This cannot happen in a democracy. Making health care compulsory cannot happen.

Postings far more articulate than anything I can come up with.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Healthy Lifestyle

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: Your heart only good for so many beats, and that it...don't waste on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speeding up heart not make you live longer; it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster. Want to live longer? Take nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiency. What does cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So steak is nothing more than efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef also good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable) And pork chop can give you 100% of recommended daily allowance of vegetable product.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that mean they take water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made of grain. Bottom up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have body and you have fat, your ratio one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No pain...good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU NOT LISTENING! Food are fried these day in vegetable oil. In fact, they permeated by it. How could getting more vegetable be bad for you?!?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise muscle, it get bigger. You should only be doing sit-up if you want bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy?!? HEL-LO-O!! Cocoa bean! Another vegetable! It best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming good for your figure, explain whale to me..

Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.
AND.....For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More on Health Care Reform

House Dems on track for vote on $940B health bill

Nine hundred forty BILLION dollars.

Title of this post is also a link to a different article.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Onions - Fact or Myth?

Another ubiquitous e-mail:

In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died. The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion.. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser in AZ. She said that several years ago many of her employees were coming down with the flu and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work. (And no, she is not in the onion business.) The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu. If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. If you do get the flu, it just might be a mild case. Whatever, what have you to lose? Just a few bucks on onions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now there is a P. S. to this for I sent it to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most interesting experience about onions: Weldon, thanks for the reminder. I don't know about the farmers story......but, I do know that I contacted pneumonia and needless to say I was very ill...I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put one end on a fork and then place the forked end into an empty jar....placing the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs...sure enough it happened just like that.....the onion was a mess and I began to feel better. Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties. This is the other note. LEFT OVER ONIONS ARE POISONOUS! have used an onion which has been left in the fridge, and sometimes I don't use a whole one at one time, so save the other half for later. Now with this info, I have changed my mind....will buy smaller onions in the future.

I had the wonderful privilege of touring Mullins Food Products, Makers of mayonnaise. Mullins is huge, and is owned by 11 brothers and sisters in the Mullins family. My friend, Jeanne, is the CEO..Questions about food poisoning came up, and I wanted to share what I learned from a chemist.The guy who gave us our tour is named Ed. He's one of the brothers Ed is a chemistry expert and is involved in developing most of the sauce formula. He's even developed sauce formula for McDonald's. Keep in mind that Ed is a food chemistry whiz. During the tour, someone asked if we really needed to worry about mayonnaise. People are always worried that mayonnaise will spoil. Ed's answer will surprise you. Ed said that all commercially- made Mayo is completely safe."It doesn't even have to be refrigerated. No harm in refrigerating it, but it's not really necessary." He explained that the pH in mayonnaise is set at a point that bacteria could not survive in that environment. He then talked about the quaint essential picnic, with the bowl of potato salad sitting on the table and how everyone blames the mayonnaise when someone gets sick.Ed says that when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the 'victim' last ate ONIONS and where those onions came from (in the potato salad?). Ed says it's not the mayonnaise (as long as it's not homemade Mayo) that spoils in the outdoors... It's probably the onions, and if not the onions, it's the POTATOES..He explained, onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion.. He says it's not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in your refrigerator.It's already contaminated enough just by being cut open and out for a bit,that it can be a danger to you (and doubly watch out for those onions you put in your hotdogs at the baseball park!)Ed says if you take the leftover onion and cook it like crazy you'll probably be okay, but if you slice that leftover onion and put on your sandwich, you're asking for trouble. Both the onions and the moist potato in a potato salad, will attract and grow bacteria faster than any commercial mayonnaise will even begin to break down.

So, how's that for news? Take it for what you will. I (the author) am going to be very careful about my onions from now on. For some reason, I see a lot of credibility coming from a chemist and a company that produces millions of pounds of mayonnaise every year.

Also, dogs should never eat onions. Their stomachs cannot metabolize onions.

Please remember it is dangerous to cut onions and try to use it to cook the next day, it becomes highly poisonous for even a single night and creates toxic bacteria which may cause adverse stomach infections because of excess bile secretions and even food poisoning.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Somebody Please Explain This

We're sitting here watching a hockey game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames. There is a big telethon drive going on for Canucks for Kids. Doesn't Canada have socialized medicine that takes care of their health issues? Why do they need charities for this?

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's That Time of Year Again

I know the expression, "Only in America" doesn't really apply nowadays, but that's what came to mind. An entire store dedicated to Peeps.

I remember when Saturday Night Live did a skit about a store that sold nothing but Scotch tape. Doesn't seem like such a remote possibility now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Did My Part

Today I e-mailed both of my Senators about how I would like them to vote regarding health care. Probably a futile gesture but at least now I can claim that I let my voice be heard. I suggest everyone do this in this age of instant communication. It's not like our opinions get there by carrier pigeon long after the decision is made. Pro or con, let them know what their constituents want.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On Aging

My husband and I love the character of Miss Marple as played by Joan Hickson and have all of the DVDs. I suggested we watch one last night as it had been a couple of years since the last viewing. Neither of us remembered the story so it was as entertaining as the first time. Afterwards we discussed how as our memories fade that soon we'll be able to watch them every week as if we'd never seen them before.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I've Been Deleted!

Wow, I made what I thought was a comparatively mild comment on PW's blog about the kerfuffle (love that word) caused by Mrs. G.'s article. I didn't attack anyone. I did point out to another commenter (#192 if I remember correctly) that the conversation had stayed civil only because Ree had deleted negative comments. Guess mine was one of them. Whoa.

Just keeping it real...

I bet the Bears pay for his health insurance too

Anxious all week, Julius Peppers was finally getting some sleep at home in Charlotte when he found out just how serious the Chicago Bears were about acquiring him.

The five-time Pro Bowl defensive end and top free agent prize agreed Friday to a six-year deal worth potentially $91.5 million.


Stayed up until 1:00 in the morning watching Multiplicity. Hadn't seen it in years so it was like watching for the first time. Cute movie and I went to bed in good spirits. Stayed awake until 2:30 reading. I'm currently muddling through Diana Gabaldon's latest in the Outlander series. Confess I went to to read some reviews as I am just not loving this book. Kind of sad to find out that this will not be the last one. I was hoping it would be as the storyline is getting very tedious. But I will soldier on and will probably read the next one also. Maybe that will have closure.

Anyway, it was one of those nights where it seemed like I woke up every 30 minutes or so. I attribute it to my having taken a nap the previous afternoon.

The phone rang at 7:00 a.m. Nothing good can come from early morning calls on a Saturday. Sure enough, it was my dear friend's husband calling to say that the doctor is giving her only another week before she succumbs to lung cancer. This woman never smoked, so I don't want any censuring thoughts headed in her direction. There is so much support for those suffering from breast cancer and so little for lung cancer victims. Personal rant, sorry.

I'm not very articulate at the best of times and am really not a morning person, ever. So I hope that whatever I said to this poor soul was not too stupid and that I was able to convey my deep sorrow at the news.

The dogs, of course, decided that since I was awake I should let them outside and then feed them breakfast. I went along with their desire, thinking I would go back to bed and sleep after they were taken care of. Unfortunately my craving for coffee won out and I've been up for three hours now.

Bad news always makes me cranky. I noticed when my sister-in-law died in late January that I was more prone to argue with other commenters on some of the blogs I read. Normally I can take the high road and just ignore people I disagree with. I was able to avoid commenting on yesterday's attacks on Mrs. G. at both The Pioneer Woman and The Women's Colony. You know, least said soonest mended philosophy.

So, today has started off kind of shitty. I hope it improves. Think I'll go read some comments and see if I can stir the pot since I'm going to be in a mood. First, more coffee...

Two Legends

I've gotta stop reading

On socialism:
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” Thomas Jefferson

As the late Adrian Rogers said, "you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class". All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.
As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

On Taxes:
It seemed that 10 men decided to have a business lunch once a week. They always met in the same restaurant and the bill was always, $100.00, for all 10 men. If each man was responsible for his share of the bill that would be, $10.00, each. The men decided to divide the bill based upon their ability to pay (using the progressive structure of the tax code). Using this formula the following payment arrangement was worked out based upon income.

Men 1-4 who made the least amount of money paid nothing.

Man 5 paid $ 1.00

Man 6 paid $ 3.00

Man 7 paid $ 7.00

Man 8 paid $12.00

Man 9 paid $18.00

Man 10 paid $59.00

After several weeks the owner of the restaurant told the men that because they were such good customers he was reducing the bill by $20.00. Their dilemma was how to divide up the, $20.00. If each person got the same amount then the first 4 men would be getting money back but they never paid anything for the dinners. After much discussion and no resolve the owner offered the following suggestion which they all agreed to.

Original Payment-New Payment-$ Amount Saved-% Saved

Men 1-4 paid $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $0.00 0%

Man 5 paid $ 1.00 $ 0.00 $1.00 100%

Man 6 paid $ 3.00 $ 2.00 $1.00 33%

Man 7 paid $ 7.00 $ 5.00 $2.00 28%

Man 8 paid $12.00 $ 9.00 $3.00 25%

Man 9 paid $18.00 $14.00 $4.00 22%

Man 10 paid $59.00 $50.00 $9.00 15%

Once outside the men began to argue about the settlement. Man 5 said he only got, $1.00, while Man 10 received, $9.00. Men 1-4 were upset because the received nothing. They said that the cut only benefited the rich and the poor got nothing. They were upset so they beat up Man 10 and left him. The next week they met for lunch as usual except man 10 did not show up. When the new bill arrived the men discovered that between them they did not have enough money to pay even half of the bill.

In this story we see a simplified version of the Federal Income Tax. According to an article in the “New York Times” 80% of the taxes are paid by 20% of the highest earning income people. Any time you have a tax cut the people who are carrying the tax burden are going to get the money. The next time you hear of a tax cut and the media tells you that the wealthy are getting all the money, remember they are the ones paying the taxes.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Really Good News

Ree Drummond, AKA The Pioneer Woman, has once again proven that sometimes nice gals really do finish first. The voters at the 2010 Bloggies have spoken. She has won the 2010 awards for Best Writing of a Weblog, Best-Designed Weblog, and, trumpets please, Weblog of the Year for the second year in a row. Congratulations, Ree!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Health Care

I swiped this from The Tygerrrr Express. You can read his entire entry through the link above.

Republicans did not block health care reform. Democrats did. The Democrats had a filibuster proof majority in the senate and could not get the job done. Again, there is absolutely nothing the Republicans could have done to block the bill. Failure to enact Obamacare is 100% the fault of the Democrats.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Name Calling

Wow, things have been heated lately over at the Women's Colony. If my link works above, you will be directed to an opinion piece where the author claims similarities between Tea Party members and the man who flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas. Comments got pretty spirited.

My personal take is that the man in Austin was not in his right mind and comparing him to people who have different political beliefs than you is just wrong. Also rude. I don't like the comparison. If you want to disagree with Tea Party members, find a stronger platform than that poor schmuck. What he did was absolutely, completely wrong and innocent people suffered as a consequence. It is a far cry from voicing unhappiness with the current state of the union.

Edited to add, the link works! I'm amazed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Play Nice

Jenny at The Bloggess encouraged all her readers to steal this. I felt it was especially appropriate after the little brouhaha at The Women's Colony yesterday.

I Am Ambivalent

Are you a highly sensitive person?

Self-Test Results: You have indicated that 14 of the items are true of you.

If you answered more than fourteen of the questions as true of yourself, you are probably highly sensitive. But no psychological test is so accurate that an individual should base his or her life on it. We psychologists try to develop good questions, then decide on the cut off based on the average response.

If fewer questions are true of you, but extremely true, that might also justify calling you highly sensitive.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Generation Gap

When I saw that Phil Harris had died in today's headlines, this is who came to mind:

Mr. Harris passed away in 1995.

I never watch Deadliest Catch, even though I live in Alaska so was surprised when I saw this man's face:

My condolences to his family and friends.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hopefully Last Entry On This Subject

A blogger I (used to) read has converted from Christianity to atheism. I commented about this and was told by another commenter that you can't convert to atheism. Yes you can. Look up the definition of convert. It means to change your belief. So there.

The fact that she's done so is really of no interest to me. I am a Christian. I am steadfast in what I believe. She does not want to hear from those who aren't "rah rah" about her decision. I see that many new commenters were led to her blog from atheist blogs. Hope she finds happiness with her new readers.

This blogger has also attacked another blogger - one who is very popular and successful. That I find offensive. My take on this is that she is jealous of this other blogger's success and what is portrayed as a happy life. The attacker has not won major awards, published a bestseller, portrayed herself as being in a happy marriage, etc. Perhaps if she gave a legitimate reason for her attack I would be less defensive, but she hasn't. She states on her own blog, oh wait, the entry has been deleted. Dang, I was going to do a cut and paste from it. In short, she doesn't want people to read her, or at least make comments, who don't agree with her. I think that desire should extend to who she reads and writes about. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. I'm contradicting that statement here myself, but I don't feel that I've made an attack. I've not been allowed to share my opinions on her blog so I've stated them here. And that's all I have to say about that, I sincerely hope.