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?