Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Year Wrap-Up

This past week has been extra busy. My husband and I fed and watered the horses on Christmas Eve. There are 29 horses and twelve of them have to be hand watered. Five of them are far enough away from the water source that carrying the buckets is quite a workout. It was snowing and quite pretty and we accomplished it all in about an hour and a half.

Christmas was nice and peaceful with just the two of us. We had a delicious rib roast and I even remembered to bake the side dishes ahead of time so they could be reheated at the last minute and everything was hot at the same time. My only failure was a baklava recipe I tried. It called for miniature phyllo dough cups crumbled over the top. My store didn't carry those so I substituted Pepperidge Farm puff pastry shells - big mistake.

I received a lot of cool gifts; books, DVDs and clothing. My brother and sister-in-law got me PW's cookbook which I already have. They bought it at a store in Solvang, California so returning it isn't really an option.

Monday I helped out at the barn. I groomed six horses both before and after their training sessions - does that count as twelve horses? Then it was time for my regular lesson so a seventh horse was not only groomed but tacked up. I was seriously tired and considering going home but my stubborn pride wouldn't let me admit that I couldn't do everything so I forged ahead. The lesson was great but my left leg was barely strong enough to get me out of the saddle; it took me two attempts. Once my mare was put away I headed for home.

It snowed heavily on Tuesday. I needed to go to the grocery store but managed to convince myself it could wait until the next day.

Wednesday up early for an 8:45 doctor appointment and then did the grocery shopping. I think I was the only customer in the store and was home by 10:00.

Thursday I groomed at the barn again and additionally fed warm mash to all the horses except the two babies. The trainer was working with some of the younger horses so grooming was a tad more challenging. One of the three year olds in cross-ties threw a hissy fit when her half sister was led out to the arena. I did not want to approach her as she seemed out of control but the trainer showed me that she calmed right down once she was being groomed. She loves attention. One of the other young ones didn't want to lift her hooves for cleaning but I eventually got them done. She's such a pretty thing that it's hard to get mad at her plus she also loves attention and begs you to pet her when you walk by her stall.

Bart the puppy ensures that I don't lounge in bed in the morning, although I have managed to get him to wait until 7:30 occasionally. I'm happy to report that he made it to and from the vet's office yesterday without getting carsick - a landmark day for him. I spent the rest of the afternoon dealing with Amazon. I love their wish list but unfortunately neither my sister or mother-in-law understands that they should click the "buy" button so we had five duplicate gifts to return. This proved quite challenging for the representative I worked with and I ultimately had to re-contact them as she kept e-mailing the same information for one item, not the others that I needed. She also claimed that I had to use UPS, which I know is wrong but did not want to argue. The packages should be picked up "some time within five business days." UPS is supposed to provide the mailing labels. I sure hope they plan on three packages as that is how the return authorizations were given to me. One large package would be easier but I'm not in charge.

Yesterday had another riding lesson and then me and another student fed and watered the horses again. Things kept happening and I didn't get home until 10:00 p.m.

Today I plan to put away the few Christmas decorations I managed to get put out. My husband asked about a box sitting on the fireplace hearth - stuff I had dragged up from the basement but never unpacked.

In answer to Midlife Mom's question, yes, I mostly tend to cross-stitch Christmas items. One year I included an ornament with all my Christmas cards. I think that was the first year I was retired and hadn't figured out what to do with myself. I have a huge stash of patterns and kits so of course I had to order another one yesterday because of the year-end sale. I find that I finish items that are meant for gifts. I have a lot of started but never completed projects for myself. I think I have one picture (Christmas, of course) that I actually finished for myself.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year's Eve and a peaceful and prosperous 2012.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Projects

I've been stitching:






I had the gingerbread house framed for my sister. The other four are coasters stitched on plastic canvas for my mother-in-law. They go in the mail today so may arrive after Christmas.
I also made a gift tag of a cat sitting on top of a present. I know I took a picture but it wasn't there when I was downloading yesterday.

Yesterday I made the reindeer cupcakes that PEA shared on her blog a while back.


I'm having lunch with friends today then will go to the grocery store to pick up a few perishables for Christmas dinner. Maybe I'll actually start decorating. I have some new Dept. 56 items that I'd like to actually display. Hey, Christmas isn't for another three days...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Frightful Weather

Mother Nature is having PMS and is taking it out on us. I flew back into Anchorage about 11:00 p.m. Friday. It was 28 degrees and clear; normal for this time of year. High winds kicked up Saturday night and all the fresh bird food I had put out earlier in the day is probably scattered to the four corners of the earth. Yesterday was a combination of snow and hard rain - I got absolutely soaked loading my truck at the grocery store. This morning we have a bunch of fresh snow, the heavy, wet kind. The birds couldn't find seed for all the snow, even if there was any to be had. I have a riding lesson early this afternoon. Hopefully the snow will have stopped by then and maybe the snow plows will have cleared the main streets. I really, really want to see "my" horse.

So, Christmas is less than two weeks away. I got most of my gift buying done while I was in California and left wrapped presents behind. Unfortunately I still need an idea for my mother-in-law's husband. I've met him exactly twice and have no idea as to his hobbies, interests, etc. I'm getting no help from her, either. She praises my wish list on Amazon for ideas for me and my husband but won't set up one for her and him. I just read an article this morning indicating Visa gift cards fall under the category of "worst gift ideas." Apologies in advance to my step-niece and her husband because that's what they're getting. I was going to get one for the in-law and may still... Whatever I end up getting has to be mailed so I don't have forever.

No decorations adorn my humble adobe and I realized that I hadn't added any cookie ingredients to my grocery list so probably no baking will get done. The only day I don't have an appointment this week is Thursday. Bah!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

So I'm Weird

Had a nightmare of sorts last night. Dreamt I returned to the stable without carrots and had a panic attack, insisting that I had to go to the grocery store to buy some before I could visit the horses.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday on Vacation

My sister and I drove to LA yesterday to visit my BFF. I insanely offered to drive back to San Diego and am happy to report that we made it without mishap. It's been 36 years since I've driven on a California freeway, not to mention its rush-hour traffic, but it all came back and I was whizzing along without a care. Just amazed that I kept being passed when I was going 75 - speed has never been a problem for me - but apparently I'm too slow for a lot of drivers.

Looks like today will be a lazy day. We may go see a movie tonight. We've narrowed it down to either Hugo or the Muppet movie. Too bad War Horse isn't released yet.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quick Update

Having a great vacation and unlike when I'm home, spending hardly any time on the computer. I can already tell that I'll never catch up reading posts on all the blogs I subscribe to - seems like everyone was extra chatty over the long weekend.

The weather here has been perfect; it's quite warm for just a couple of hours mid-day and cools off enough in the evening that we can have a fire in the fireplace. I've finished most of my Christmas shopping so will be able to save quite a bit postage-wise not having to mail gifts from Anchorage this year. I figure that gives me leeway to spend a little more on shopping, ahem.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bad, Bad Realtor

Our realtor sent an information link on a house with eight and a half acres. It was after midnight - does the man never sleep? No pictures yet as it was a brand-new listing. I'm heading off to California Wednesday with a pretty full plate of things to do before then but I'm tempted to squeeze in a viewing before I leave. Who wants to move in the middle of winter - it was about eight below zero this morning.

Glad I refilled all the bird feeders yesterday. The nuthatches are really loving the peanut butter feeder. I often see two at a time on it. Thought the heated water dish had died but it turned out the timer needed resetting. Don't know how that got out of whack.

UPDATE: Does this look like a ranch style to you? I, for one, do not want to shovel those steps just so unwanted solicitors can make it to my front door.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Replacement Windows

Last year, I replaced all the windows in my house with those expensive, double-pane, energy-efficient kind.
Today, I got a call from the contractor who installed them.
He complained that the work had been completed a year ago. and I still hadn't paid for them.
Hellloooo,............just because I'm blonde doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid.
So, I told him just what his fast-talking sales guy told me last year....that these windows would pay for themselves in a year.
Helllooooo? It's been a year, so they're paid for, I told him.
There was only silence at the other end of the line, so I finally hung up.
He never called back.
I bet he felt like an idiot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Saddle Pics



You know, I think there's a concept called contrast when the background is a different color than the object you are taking a picture of. My craptastic photo skilz live on.

This is a Stubben Tristan saddle. Paid $400.00. I think I got a good deal.

It's A Keeper

I'm keeping the saddle. It's not perfect and my consultant was encouraging me to look at a different saddle that cost twice as much. I can't justify that kind of money for what will essentially be a lesson saddle. I don't know if I'll ever want to compete. This saddle was comfortable for both me and the horse and has a narrow twist, apparently a good thing.

We're going to be experimenting with different types of saddle pads - it needs a riser, whatever that is. I went to the tack shop after my lesson and bought some glycerin based saddle soap, leather conditioner and a saddle rack. I plan on cleaning it up today. Yee haw!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Can A Pony Be Far Behind?

I bought a used saddle yesterday! Of course as with most things I took a simple transaction and turned it into a three act play. I saw the saddle advertised on Craigslist last week. I talked to a couple of the women at the barn about it on Friday. They all thought it sounded like a good deal and that I should contact the seller about trying it out. My husband has been adverse to the idea of saddle ownership since I don't have a horse - why can't I just keep using the stable's equipment? Thus, I was hesitant to tell him about this great deal and just kept checking Craigslist to make sure the listing hadn't been deleted.

Somehow yesterday the subject of Christmas came up and I asked him if he knew what he was getting me. He responded, "No, but I bet you do." I confessed that he may not want to buy what I had in mind and he, smart man, immediately said, "Saddle." Because he hates shopping and this was a really good deal, he told me to call the seller, which I did. She and I agreed to meet at 5:00 at her barn.

I picked up the saddle and ran over to my barn to show it off. Well, there was no one there so I could not get an opinion or fitting accomplished. The seller had another interested party planning to look at the saddle today (Monday). Being the neurotic that I am, I promptly bought the saddle outright, not knowing if it will fit me or "my" horse. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Taken Today, Posted Today


Thirteen weeks.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Better Late Than Never?

I found the camera and it had some pictures of Bart's first couple of days with us. He's about twice as big now and today goes to the vet for another shot and microchipping. We'll find out if he still gets carsick or not...


He's a good boy. Seems to be housebroken in that he asks to go outside, although I wouldn't trust him not to have an accident if we didn't respond quickly to his cues. A couple of people I know suggested teaching him to ring a bell to ask outside. Nice in theory but he bats at the bell like a kitten and treats it like a toy. He knows how to sit on command and stay sitting until I tell him it's okay to dive into his food. Last night we started working on "Down."

There was an in-house (in-stable?) show and costume contest at the barn on Sunday. We had our first snow of the season Saturday night which I think discouraged some of the participants from attending. It was cold and I left as soon as the last event was over. I do not envy the barn workers who have to take care of the horses. Household pets are so much easier by comparison.

Here's another picture of Bart and our older dog, Boris. Most of the pictures we have are of him sleeping as it's the only time he holds still.

I'm having a crown on one of my molars replaced so spent Monday morning in the dentist's chair. Decided to get a flu shot since there was a Walgreens close by. Barely made it home in time to change into my riding clothes and head out to the stable. Had another good lesson. Things have been clicking right along lately so I'm sure I'm due for a complete breakdown soon and all my muscle memory will fly out the window.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Halloween Story

A man is walking home alone late one foggy Halloween night, when behind him he hears:


BUMP...



BUMP...



BUMP...




Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog he makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him.



BUMP...




BUMP...




BUMP...





Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him.




FASTER...



FASTER..




BUMP...




BUMP...




BUMP......



He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him. However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping.


clappity-BUMP...



clappity-BUMP....


clappity-BUMP...


on his heels, as the terrified man runs.



Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, he locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps.



With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door.









Bumping and clapping toward him.





The man screams and reaches for something, anything, but all he can find is a bottle of cough syrup! Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket...


and,















(hopefully you're ready for this!!!)









The coffin stops

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Proofreading Is A Dying Art

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter
This one I caught in the SGV Tribune the other day and called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this. It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!!! They put in a correction the next day.
-----------------------
Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
Really? Ya think?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that's taking things a bit far!
-----------------------------------------------------------
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!
---------------------------------------------------------------
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
No-good-for-nothing lazy so-and-so's!
------------------------------------------------------
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works any better than a fair trial!
----------------------------------------------------------
War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that effect!
----------------------------------------------------------------
If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Ya think?!
-----------------------
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!
----------------------------------------------------------------
Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
They may be on to something!
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there's something stronger than duct tape?
----------------------------------------------------------
Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
He probably IS the battery charge!
----------------------------------------------
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Weren't they fat enough?!
-----------------------------------------------
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
That's what he gets for eating those beans!
---------------- ---------------------------------
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Do they taste like chicken?
****************************************
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Chainsaw Massacre all over again!
***************************************************
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!
************************************ *******
And the winner is....

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Did I read that right?

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Family Member

"We could call him Titan like his previous owner did. No wait, let's call him Sam. Nah, I know, let's name him Bart."

(Pretend there is a photo of Bart the puppy here) I know, I suck at pictures.

We adopted him on October 4th. He had his ten week shot and nose drops this past Wednesday. He's a black and tan German Shepherd, the runt of his litter and seems to be wicked smart, or maybe it's just that I haven't had a puppy in eight years. He's only had three peeing accidents inside. I managed to catch him in the act every time and hustle him outside (once while he continued to pee down my leg as I carried him - oh joy) It's been over a week since he's had an accident and this morning I caught him pawing at the door to go out. He has mega-esophagus, just like our older dog, so had been returned to the breeder by his first buyer. He doesn't have it nearly as severely and the only time it seems to bother him is if we feed him dry food - no more puppy milk bones - or if he drinks too much water too fast. He does get spectacularly carsick, however, as the passenger seat in my truck can attest. Hopefully he will outgrow that.

Had an amazing lesson on Monday. It started out kind of crappy as I was super stiff and could barely lift my leg to the stirrup (from the mounting block!) It gradually got better as we warmed up. Late in the lesson my trainer kept having to remind me to keep my right shoulder back. I held the reins in my left hand and placed my right arm in the center of my back. Magic! The mare and I were totally in sync. She had a nice, extended trot and I was on the correct diagonal for once. The trainer was going to keep us going until we messed up but she finally conceded that it seemed like we could go on like that forever. She had us stop in the middle of the arena - nice square halt - where we talked for a while. Then she gave me the option of stopping on that high note or seeing if we could do it again. I decided to quit while I was ahead.

I came across this site while dinking around on the computer this morning. It's the journey of some guy who has always been super healthy and fit deliberately not exercising and eating junk food for six months. After that time he will share how he gets back into shape. It is helping him to identify with those of us who may not make the best lifestyle choices. I've only read a few entries but I like what I've seen so far.

A breeze kicked up last night and knocked the remaining leaves off the tree. This, of course, was after I raked yesterday. Just when I thought I was done with yard work.

I will see if I can't get a puppy picture to post. My husband's taken a few with his iPod but they are very poor quality. I know we have a camera around here somewhere...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Parents (If They'd Thought Of It)


Swiped from shoeboxblog.com

28 Degrees

Frost on the pumpkin, indeed.

I failed to mention the "termination dust" on the mountains last week. Snow starts appearing at the higher elevations and gradually creeps down until it reaches us. Hope the rest of the leaves hurry and fall off the trees. I hate it when it snows before they're all down - makes spring clean-up so much messier. Maybe I'll trim back my neglected perennial bed today. It's an overgrown mess.

I'm trying to keep myself from calling the realtor to look at houses. It's totally impractical right now but I'm so curious as to what they look like in reality. I'm happy being a tire kicker but I don't want to waste his time.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday

The motorcycle was missing from the garage when I got home from my riding lesson. Seems my husband decided to take advantage of the dry weather and rode down the highway overlooking Cook Inlet. He met a group of Christian bikers that he rode back to Anchorage with.

When he got home he said he'd sent me a bunch of e-mails about puppies for sale. He is very interested in a nine week old female German Shepherd and wasn't very happy when I said I wanted another male. We've had two females over the years and I just don't find them as affectionate as the boys. He really wants to take a look at her. I said, "Fine, go look. Just don't bring her home." Impasse.

Saw a newly listed house yesterday that seems too good to be true. Excellent price, decent location and seems to have all the bells and whistles we're looking for. Of course I find it after I finally booked a flight to California. I usually go down in late October. This year I kept putting off making reservations. I've decided to go down for Thanksgiving. This will be the first time since 1974 that I've spent it with my family. I've never been to Bates Nut Farm so we're planning to go there; there will be a huge craft show at Del Mar, along with some kind of Christmas light show at night featuring over 400 displays. It costs $14 a carload but I'm pretty sure it's worth it. My husband and I have tried to view Anchorage's best lit homes in the past but that usually ends up in an argument over the best way to get from Point A to Point B. Del Mar will also be hosting a "Jingle Bells" horse show which I may or may not insist upon attending one of the days.

Oh, the point I was going to make is that it wouldn't be very wise to go on vacation while in the middle of either negotiating for a house or actually moving. I haven't decided whether to show the listing to my husband or not. It's a cute house; reminds me of the one on "Leave It To Beaver," although when I actually Googled a picture of that house it's not that similar.

As predicted, we've raked leaves twice this week. We did it yesterday and you'd never know it looking at the lawn today.

May go up to the barn today and/or tomorrow as my trainer smashed her fingers in one of the doors and might have broken some fingers. I'd like to help out if needed, although I've noticed that there are a lot more people there on weekends than during the week.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Argh!

Decided to order an Elmo DVD for the kid's birthday since she, like every toddler I've known since he was created, seems entranced by him. Of course, then how could I resist adding three books for myself? Curse you, Amazon, and your free shipping for orders over $25.00!

A Whole Lotta Nothing

Had another fabulous riding lesson Monday. I grabbed a crop and asked my trainer if she thought the horse would stand still better as I mounted or head for the hills when she saw it. Her response was a reassuring, "I dunno. Let's find out." The mare did stand better but I still need to get my butt on her back faster. I have a subconscious feeling that she's going to move which is probably a self-fulfilling prophecy, so then she does. I need to focus on imaging myself mounting easily without hesitation.

I decided to buy my very own crop. I secretly want a purple glitter one but went with the boring basic black. I tried applying purple hot glue to the handle's end but it peeled right off. I then rolled it in black pigment stamping ink and applied black glitter embossing powder. Snazzy but discreet if I do say so myself. I added a few coats of clear nail polish so the glitter won't flake off. Currently, I am wearing dark purple sparkling nail polish with large glitter topcoat. The glitter sparkles like diamonds. My husband hasn't commented on it so I'm pretty sure he disapproves. I need a little bling to brighten my life, so sue me.

Made a trip to Home Depot on Wednesday. I bought five bags of mulch. As I was loading them into the back of the truck I mused on how in my younger, thinner, blonder days, guys would have been swarming to help me. Now they leave the decrepit, fat, old lady to manage on her own. Just as I was finishing that thought a young guy came along and loaded the last bag. Does this mean I've still got it? I doubt it; he was probably just a former Boy Scout.

Back at the barn the yearling was nosing a giant ball around one of the arenas. He moved it close to where I was standing so I gave into the impulse to kick it. That set the other horse in there into a bucking frenzy which I thought was pretty funny. The owners might not have so I was happy there were no witnesses.

Babysat the kid Tuesday evening. Hard to believe she will turn two next week. I decided not to be such a slacker by sitting her in front of the television and actually read her some books (I now have Go Dog. Go! burned in my brain after about six consecutive readings) We practiced running and shrieking, always a favorite. Discovered she likes me bouncing a small beach ball on the top of her head. Who knew children were so easily entertained?

It's leaf raking time. Collected three yard bags full yesterday. We'll be raking at least twice a week until the trees are bare. Sure noticing the days getting darker earlier. More than three months to go before they'll start lengthening again.

I've almost given up house hunting online. Just don't want to quit completely in case the perfect home becomes available. We might just wait a couple of years and see if the one we made an offer on comes back on the market after the lease expires...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Budweiser 9/11 Tribute

This is a class act. Very moving, a must see!!!!! Notice the World Trade Center buildings are gone. This is the commercial spot Budweiser produced after 9-11.

They only aired it once so as not to benefit financially from it - they just wanted to acknowledge the tragic event. I never saw this commercial until now..... it is quite moving.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My goodness, September already. My brother was visiting and I never seemed to get enough alone time to blog. I did throw up a story now and then that I received in e-mails, both here and at Head In The Sand.

Horseback riding is good. About a month ago I had three consecutive lessons that were great. Me and the horse were in sync and everything was working as it should. Then things kind of fell apart and I was just riding so-so. This past week has been better. Mare was getting lazy yesterday and didn't want to trot. My trainer had me lose the stirrups and "kick the bejeezus out of her" to get her going. It worked. Now I have a new weapon in my arsenal. I also may ask if I can start carrying a whip. I don't need to use it but just knowing I have it perks her right up.

The two fillies are so cute. One of them is a pocket pony and will stand still forever to be scratched and stroked all over. I can see me begging to groom her in my future. The barn seems to be ever evolving with some horses leaving and newcomers arriving. Just when I think I know who's who, it changes.

Had a great time with my brother. We both like to read so went to different bookstores and stocked up. We went to the State fair one day and saw the movie, "Cowboys Versus Aliens" on another afternoon (it's entertaining but not great)

Was trying to find some interfacing earlier today and had to look in a bunch of places before I finally located it. I found all kinds of craft stuff that I forgot I had. I see many eBay listings in my future.

Still looking at houses online but haven't seen anything that I could get very excited about. I'm about ready to call in quits for this year, get rid of a bunch of stuff so I won't have to move it, and resume the search next spring.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Husband Down

A husband and wife are shopping in their local Wal-Mart.
The husband picks up a case of Budweiser and puts it in their cart.
“What do you think you're doing?” asks the wife.
“They're on sale, only $10 for 24 cans” he replies.
“Put them back, we can't afford them” demands the wife, and so they carry on shopping.
A few aisles further on along the woman picks up a $20 jar of face cream and puts it in the basket.
“What do you think you're doing?” asks the husband.
“It’s my face cream. It makes me look beautiful,” replies the wife.
Her husband retorts: “So does 24 cans of Budweiser and it's half the price.”

He never knew what hit him.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who's the toughest cowboy EVER?

Three cowboys were seated around the campfire out on the lonesome sagebrush prairie; it was a night of bravado, a night of tall tales.

Jim, the hand from Wyoming says, "I must be the strongest, meanest, toughest cowboy there is. Why, just the other day, a bull got loose in the corral. It had gored six men before I wrestled it to the ground by the horns with my bare hands and castrated that sucker with my teeth."

Mike, from Idaho, couldn't stand to be bested. "That's nothing, I was walking down the trail yesterday and a 15 foot diamondback rattler slid out from under a rock and made a move for me. I grabbed that bad-boy with my bare hands, bit off its head, and sucked the poison down in one gulp and didn't even get a belly ache."

Old Gila River John, the cowboy from West Texas, remained silent, slowly stirring the campfire coals with his pecker...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Harlequin Novel, Updated.... 2011 Version

He grasped me firmly, but gently, just above my elbow and guided me into a room, his room. Then he quietly shut the door and we were alone. He approached me soundlessly, from behind, and spoke in a low, reassuring voice close to my ear,"Just relax."

Without warning, he reached down and I felt his strong, calloused hands start at my ankles, gently probing, and moving upward along my calves, slowly but steadily. My breath caught in my throat.

I knew I should be afraid, but somehow I didn't care. His touch was so experienced, so sure. When his hands moved up to my thighs, I gave a slight shudder, and partly closed my eyes. My pulse was pounding. I felt his knowing fingers caressed my abdomen, my ribcage. And then, as he cupped my breasts in his hands, I inhaled sharply.

Probing, searching, knowing what he wanted, he brought his hands to my shoulders, slid them down my tingling spine onto my quivering buttocks.

Although I knew nothing about this man, I felt oddly trusting and expectant. This is a man, I thought. A man used to taking charge. A man not used to taking 'No' for an answer. A man who would tell me what he wanted. A man who would look into my soul and say...

"Okay, ma'am, you can board your flight now."

Monday, August 8, 2011

I've Got To Stop Reading Craigslist

i need horse tack (wasilla/kgb)

Date: 2011-08-08, 3:41AM AKDT
Reply to: see below [Errors when replying to ads?]

I am a new owner of a yearlong filly and I need everything. So if you have cheap tack or free tack let me know please.

Email me or call or text.
*****
I am not an experienced horse person but from what I've seen around the barn, the yearling (yearlong?) doesn't require much in the way of tack - halter and lead rope. Is this person expecting to ride this yearlong? If they can't afford a halter, how do they expect to feed this horse? Maybe grass now, but winter's on the way. What about vet, farrier, etc.? My stomach hurts.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dressage Show

The mare I ride is being shown this weekend by one of the other students. I am a terrible photographer. That said, here are a couple of pictures I took yesterday.


Another competitor who rides a Percheron cross was so happy to see a horse with a bigger neck. Also, I would crop out the rider for privacy reasons if I had a clue how to do that.


She got decent scores - in the 60's - and two blue ribbons. Okay, she was the only horse in her classes but she still did good. Oh, I guess her rider should get some of the credit too.

I got to meet her owner who leases her to the barn. I peppered her with questions.

I took some of my home grown carrots for after the show and the mare spit them out! She was happier munching on the weedy grass. I admit they looked more like orange nubbins than actual carrots, but still...

I'm going to go watch again today if it doesn't start pouring rain. Will probably leave the camera at home.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tragedy

Just saw the news about the helicopter crash in Afghanistan. How devastating. My thoughts and prayers go out to their families and comrades in arms.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Another Craigslist Loser

Hello we want to sell are Chihuahua we wanted at first but are kids are still young and we are worried they will kill him he dose not have his papers yet that's why he's 500$ instead of 1000-1200$ we can get all info you need to get him papers if you like but we are just trying to get are money back for him befor the kids kill him he's good dog we have bowl and ect.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Soda Water Dogs

Hilarious video, especially if you're a German Shepherd Dog lover.

We made an offer on the over-priced home. It was rejected. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It was a beautiful house but over-built for the neighborhood. I loved everything about it but the price. Dang it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Champagne Taste, Beer Budget

Looked at four homes yesterday. One had a beautiful location with a stream you could hear from the property and a lovely landscaped yard. The house was okay but the garage and attached shop were shabby to the extreme, not to mention unheated. That does not work in Alaskan winters.

The second place was brand new so needed landscaping and window coverings. The living room area was small and the open concept kitchen/dining room took up a good portion of that space. The garage really didn't have much room for a work table, etc.

The third house was impossible. You had to climb steps to get from the garage to the lower floor, then up two more flights of stairs to reach the kitchen. Not so great when hauling groceries. The pantry was on the lower floor so any time you needed something for a recipe you'd have to go down and up two flights. The dining area was so narrow that a person would have a hard time pulling a chair away from the table before hitting a wall.

So the winner was a home that I should never have considered at all due to its price being well over our budget. It just sounded too good to be true and I wanted to see if something actually existed that I liked. It has everything we wanted and then some. The breaking point for my husband was that taxes on it are over $5,000 a year. I might have been able to finagle my way past the asking price but taxes can't be gotten around.

Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Busy

Sorry for the lack of posts (I know you hang on my every word) I've been helping out at the barn more than usual. Did you know that latex paint doesn't wash out if you let it sit overnight? Found that out this morning...

We had to put my old dog to sleep Tuesday which was pretty traumatic for me as he was "my" guy. He was weird, had a terrible temperament with strangers and looked like a cross between a black lab and a German Shepherd instead of a purebred but I loved him from the instant we picked him up at the airport. He had one paw against the door of the crate with a "let me out" pleading look on his face. His ears never came up and his tail was too short. He was diagnosed with both hip and elbow dysplasia at a young age. He suffered from spinal myelopathy the last year or so. Monday night he threw up a little, which he never did. Tuesday he ate breakfast but then started dry heaving and was foaming at the mouth somewhat. I could see that he was in pain. My husband observed that his side appeared swollen. The vet tech thought it might be spleen related. They gave him a sedative before the actual lethal injection and he was gone almost instantly. I miss him terribly but don't regret the decision to let him go.

Today I babysit and we're going to look at houses again tomorrow. I've given up on the one I mentioned before. It is way the heck out in the middle of nowhere. It would take me 40 minutes each way to drive to my stable of choice in the Valley - and that's probably in good weather. I do have my priorities, you know.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Boy, Is My Face Red

Literally. I finally got around to going to the hunter/jumper show yesterday. It started Thursday but was a rainy day so I opted to stay home. Friday had nice weather so I coulda/woulda/shoulda but didn't. Yesterday was gorgeous and even though my house is pretty much in shambles, I boogied out the door. I completely forgot sunscreen. I noticed most people weren't wearing sunglasses but I'm blind as a bat without prescription lenses of some sort and hadn't bothered with contacts since I wasn't going to be riding. Today, after spending five hours in the sun, I look like a raccoon. A big, fat, red raccoon.

I found a house I really like. Here is the link for any of you that are curious.

It has a screened in porch on two sides of the house! I could sit there without being eaten alive by giant mosquitos. (Can you say weenie?)

Of course I haven't actually seen this place so I may not like it as well once I do but at this point I think it may be "the one." (Please ignore the fact that like many a teenage girl, I find "the one" at least once a week)

It is a short sale which raises all kinds of issues so I need to talk to our realtor about it. I do want to see it. I had some apprehension about it being in the middle of nowhere and my chances of being eaten by a bear (again with the weenie factor) The newspaper on Wednesday posted a picture of a black bear ransacking garbage within 1/2 mile of where I currently live. There was also an article about how a new ordinance that allows raising chickens in the city limits is attracting bears. (That didn't come out sounding right. The ordinance is not attracting bears - it's definitely the chickens) So I guess as much as I enjoyed watching running chickens I will forfeit owning any. They poop and smell a lot anyway... Oh, the point is that bears are everywhere. As are moose. You just have to keep your eyes peeled. It definitely isn't a good idea to keep bird feeders up when the bears aren't hibernating either. I haven't had a problem in town but wouldn't want to encourage fuzzy visitors when I'm living in their territory. Unlike that crazy bear man I watched a special on last year. Do. Not. Feed. The. Bears.

I'm going to go soak my head. It feels like it's on fire.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Touching Story

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky backcountry.

As I was not familiar with the rural roads, I got lost; and being a typical man I didn't stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral director had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight.

There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt bad and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. Embarrassed about being late, and feeling sad for this poor man with no family and friends, I put my heart and soul into the music. Overcome with emotion, I played like I've never played before for this forgotten homeless man.

And as I played "Amazing Grace," the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "Sweet Mother of Jesus, I never seen nothing like that before, and I've been putting in septic tanks for years."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ramblings

Why is the media still covering Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt's breakup? They've been apart far longer than they were ever together. There's a blurb on Yahoo news today talking about how a movie role helped her get over it. If she's over it why are we still discussing it? Gah!

I haven't been on the back of a horse in a week. I rode last Thursday since my husband's birthday was Friday and I thought it would be nice if I made him dinner instead of leaving leftovers; Friday's normal fare since I don't get home till between 8 and 9. My trainer had taken Monday off for the holiday - she actually has a life outside of horses - who knew?

I got a reprieve from babysitting Monday. I was going to start at 0630 but those plans got changed. Tuesday was our 36th wedding anniversary. My birthday is next week. We don't really observe by giving gifts but agreed to have some body work done on the truck to commemorate. We got an estimate yesterday and actually have enough cash left over from the sale of the vehicles last fall to pay for it.

I was balancing my checkbook Sunday and found a pretty serious error. I had paid 1/2 our property tax in June and deducted $1,994, the correct amount. However, the check I'd written was for $1,194, an $800 difference. So I quick wrote out a check and popped it in the mail. At least I'd already accounted for the $800 in my balance so I didn't have to hit up my savings to cover it.

Several years ago I signed up to receive an annual Christmas cross stitch pattern book. It arrived last week and I decided I would send it back and cancel the membership. Darned, if I didn't take a peek at the patterns and decide I wanted to keep it after all. Weak, weak, weak!

A family friend died Monday. He had requested burial within 24 hours and the family respected his wishes. He was buried before we found out he'd passed. He was a wonderful Christian gentleman and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He was also my husband's physician. I never felt comfortable with the idea of undressing before a man I saw socially so I have a different doctor.

Still looking at houses online. Wish they looked as good in person. It sure is disappointing to find one that sounds perfect and have reality be far different.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boy, Am I Old

I was looking at apartments on Craigslist and saw a one bedroom, furnished for $125.00. I didn't think that was too out of line since my first one bedroom, furnished apartment was $110.00 per month (in 1971). Of course reality set in when I actually read the ad and found it was $125 per day.

Had a great one on one lesson with the trainer yesterday. No stirrups and I was trotting with the reins in my left hand and my right hand in the small of my back to improve my seat. I was feeling pretty comfortable by the end of the lesson. At one point she had gone to get something and I decided to dismount to reposition the saddle. I was halfway off the mare when the trainer saw me and yelled, "What are you doing? Get back on that horse." I actually managed to stop midway and change direction.

At the end of the lesson my trainer complimented me and said if I continued to ride this well that she would put me up on one of the other horses. Gulp. I've read several sources that claim riding a variety of horses is the best thing you can do to improve your riding ability as you learn different things from every horse. I think the next most likely candidate for me is a paint gelding who is known for being extremely smart and tries to get away with stuff. Oh joy.

The second filly was born last Wednesday. I've only had a brief glimpse because her mom is a bit on the overprotective side. I guess she's getting a little more relaxed every day so I should get some quality time soon. The older filly is a doll and I'm trying my best not to do anything to spoil her as I've read some stories about horses being ruined because of being treated like puppies when they're young. I guess it affects their mentality and they don't respect humans after a while so that they become unsafe to be around.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What's Wrong With This Ad?

Male Pitbull mix named Rex, he is very energetic and loves people affection. Rex needs a good home where he will get the attention he deserves, He makes a really good property guard dog. we have too many pets and recently got a puppy and i want to give my full attention to it so i dont have any time with rex.
Rehoming fee $50

Dear Human Too Stupid To Live: If you've got too many pets you don't get a new puppy and discard the older dog. I can see a never-ending cycle here. Don't own animals.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who Designs These Houses?

We looked at six homes yesterday. None of them spoke to me in such a way that I had to have it. The strongest contender has a contingent offer on it already. It is a beautiful piece of property with a creek, however someone has put a lot of love into the landscaping. I don't know if I would want to maintain the garden and many flower beds. The lawn definitely would need a riding mower. My main objection to the house itself was it only had one and a half baths. The full bath was right off the kitchen(!) and the half bath downstairs.

One home had been set up for dairy goats. To access the front door you had to climb up about a dozen steep stairs, not something I would look forward to in the winter. The garage was separate from the house so you'd have to wade across the driveway to get to the stairs. The main level was kitchen and living room. The master bedroom was off of a loft overlooking the living room. The bathroom sink was in the bedroom. There was a second stairway leading down to the other bedrooms, laundry room, etc. The stairways were so narrow that it would be a nightmare to move furniture in or out.

Another piece of property didn't have a garage but we looked at it anyway. Again with climbing stairs to enter the front door. This house had a really odd design but it did have a screened in porch - a huge plus for me. There were also four hens that followed us everywhere when we were tramping around the outside. Have you ever seen a chicken run? Too funny.

I don't understand why one home had the shower and tub in the master bedroom with wall to wall carpeting. At least the toilet was in a private alcove. This was also the only bathroom on that floor so all your guests and whoever used the second bedroom would be sharing that bath.

The next home was a gorgeous ranch style that was in the middle of nowhere. I think it would have been "the one" if there hadn't been miles of dirt road to get to it. My husband doesn't like to take the Harley on long stretches of unpaved streets.

The last house we looked at was almost perfect except for the location. The neighboring homes were too close for the property to have privacy.

I looked online today and didn't see any new listings that grabbed my attention. It will be interesting to see what the realtor values our home at to have a more accurate idea of what priced homes we can actually afford.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dead Penguins: Sorry, sometimes I can't help myself

Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica - where do they go?

Wonder no more ! ! !

It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life.

The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintaining a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life.

If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into and buried. The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing:

"Freeze a jolly good fellow"

"Freeze a jolly good fellow."

Then they kick him in the ice hole.

Angry Beavers

Saw this article in the local newspaper about beavers becoming aggressive and attacking dogs swimming in their territory. They apparently can do some real damage to the poor puppies.

I haven't posted much about my riding lately as I seem to be in a holding pattern. All of my recent lessons have been with two or three other women so I haven't had any one on one critiques by my trainer. I did go to the barn yesterday to scrub water buckets and just hang with the horses. The new filly is cute beyond words. Very friendly and inquisitive. She would run up to me every time I was close to her paddock and stand to be petted and loved on. One of the school horses has been retired and a boarder has her mare up for sale. I expect there will be new horses to replace them eventually.

I've been looking online at homes for sale in the MatSu Valley. The Valley is about 30 miles from Anchorage and the ridiculous gasoline prices are making it impractical for people to make the commute so they're selling at really low prices. My husband knows a realtor and I think we're actually going to look at a couple of homes this week. One home is on five acres so hopefully has some privacy. It is also about the same distance from a really nice stable as what I currently drive.

By the way, I go on these flights of fancy all the time so don't be surprised if I never move but stay firmly ensconced in my present surroundings.

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Newest Blog Venture

Once upon a time I created a blog called "Bow Chica Bow Bow" where I intended to post examples of unintentional sexual humor that people expressed either verbally or in pictures. That went nowhere fast and I deleted it. I still have "From Rabbits to Redpolls" although I haven't filched any animal pictures to post there in a long time.

I worked in government for 30 years and have an abiding contempt for politicians. I do believe America is headed for destruction and our current President scares the crap out of me. Because I am a coward I tend to avoid the unpleasant, however, I've been barraged by e-mails lately that even I can't ignore. Instead of forwarding them on I have decided to copy them into a new blog I've created - Head In The Sand. I guess this is my miniscule attempt at making a difference.

I occasionally posted these e-mails in Ms Martyr but since it has evolved mostly into stories about my horsey adventures I decided to put them in a location where those so inclined will have to deliberately seek them out. I may occasionally voice my own opinion. Comments are welcome, even if you disagree, or maybe especially if you do so. I am not verifying what is posted there so if it is total hogwash, let me know, but be prepared to prove it. I once posted a comment on a very liberal blog about Obama's presidential campaign and had inserted a link to where I had gained the information. The blogger's response was something to the effect of, "This is too stupid for words." Um, nope, that does not constitute a good argument in my book.

I wouldn't be posting these if I didn't feel there was some basis of truth. I may return to complete inertia and never publish another entry. I feel helpless as an individual and have not seen any real solutions put forth. I learned at a seminar I that it's not good enough to point out the problem, you have to offer a solution. Voting the bastards out of office doesn't do it - they're all bastards.

Now, back to our regular manure-strewn programming.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One Year Ago

I had my first riding lesson. I was so thrilled afterwards that I couldn't even remember the horse's name. I think I had three or four lessons using a Western saddle when the trainer asked if I'd be willing to try a dressage saddle and I've been riding English ever since.

I had a great time at the Hunter Jumper show last Saturday. I'm pretty happy that I don't want to compete as I can see me totally screwing up the jumping pattern. I saw several horses and riders from my barn jump as well as the daughter of a lady who gets her manicures where I do. The mare she leases is absolutely beautiful and a real sweetheart.

The people participating at the show had taken the mounting block from the barn with them. Consequently, I had to lengthen my left stirrup and claw my way up the horse's side to mount at the last two lessons. It was not pretty. Hopefully everything will be back to normal this Friday but I'm looking at mounting blocks on line as there are at least three more shows this summer that horses from the barn will be attending. There's a dressage show this weekend that I plan to watch. I don't know of any horses from my stable competing in it .

I decided to economize by not planting hanging baskets and pots of flowers this year. I don't think I'm the only one as I haven't seen a lot of flowers around town. I figure I'll be able to resume gardening long after I won't be able to ride any more.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Equifest

Went to Equifest last Saturday and had a blast. Looked at an 18" saddle but couldn't justify spending $800 on an impulse buy. There were demonstrations going on throughout the day that were so entertaining. One of my favorites was a group of four young women vaulting. There was a competition where the riders and horses had to perform various tests, such as backing through "L" shaped poles on the ground, having the horse sidestep a circle while keeping its front legs inside a hulu hoop laid on the ground, the rider throwing a lance while galloping (or trotting) past a bale of straw. The three top finalists would compete again later in the afternoon with new and more difficult challenges. There was barrel racing and one of the women did it bareback! Breed presentations, jumping (with lots of refusals) and my absolute favorite demonstration was jumping by a miniature horse. He or she said to heck with jumping, let's roll! and proceeded to take a dust bath in the arena. Too cute.

The first hunter/jumper show of the season is this coming weekend. It is going to be held despite the EHV-1 scare as there have been no cases reported in Alaska and I guess there is little to no participation by people and horses from other states or Canada. I plan to go Saturday to observe.

Mama and baby were in a large outside pen yesterday. The gelding in the next pen over was just fascinated by the filly. At one point he and she were on the verge of touching noses when mama went ballistic and charged him with teeth bared. He wandered over to me for sympathy after that.

Haven't had any breakthroughs in my riding abilities lately. Yesterday I was reverting to crossing the left rein over the mare's neck. How frustrating to backtrack instead of going forward or at least maintaining.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Immoral v Illegal

Have you seen the story about the $2 million lottery winner in Michigan who is still collecting food stamps?

There is a loophole that allows him to do this. Makes me wonder how many others are doing the same thing - they just don't happen to have millions in the bank or have won a lottery that brought attention to their situation.

This makes me both sad and angry. Yes, legally he is still entitled to food stamps but can he honestly feel he's entitled? Where is his sense of shame? We watched a movie on Will Rogers last night and how he helped those that had been effected by the Great Depression. He sought aid from millionaires and one of his arguments was that these people weren't looking for a handout, just a helping hand to get back on their feet. Mr. Lottery Winning Asshole sure puts a dent in that theory.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's A Girl!

Cute chestnut filly. No photos allowed so I won't be able to post any. Mama and baby are doing great.

Another really good lesson last night. Very positive for all of us with only a minor correction here and there. I actually felt comfortable at a sitting trot. Since I don't recall a sensation of sliding out of the saddle, I expect I was using stirrups. We practiced riding with and without them. I still have trouble picking them up. If I had my own saddle on a really sturdy stand I could practice at home. I can rationalize anything...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Inquiring Mind Wants To Know

Is anyone out there familiar with a breed of horse called the Moriesian? It's apparently a cross between a Friesian and a Morgan. Are people creating "designer breeds" with horses the way they are with dog breeds, i.e., labradoodles? People cross breeding purebreds and charging an arm and a leg for what is essentially a mutt. I admit to being pretty ignorant when it comes to horse breeds. I was horse crazy as a kid and read everything I could get my hands on about horses, yet never ran across the term "warmblood" until I was an adult. Are warmbloods really a breed or a cross?

Blogger is Messing With Me

At least one earlier comment has disappeared and I didn't delete it. Earlier in the week I wrote a post about the stallion parade and it also vanished. Last night I couldn't even sign in to check my account.

Anyway, the stallion parade was fun. I think my favorite was a miniature horse who thought he was hot stuff and let everybody know it. He wasn't going to be intimidated by the bigger guys and didn't shut up the whole time he was in the ring. The only disappointment for me was that there were no vendors there so my money remained burning a hole in my pocket. Equifest is coming up on May 21 so maybe I'll have a chance to do some shopping then.

Still no new foal as of Monday and I haven't been back to the stable since then. I'll find out later today if there is a new arrival. Rode two point practically the whole lesson Monday and by the end my legs were like noodles. I pretty much completely lost control of the horse and she was going where she felt like it. I'm not supposed to use the reins to steer, only my legs, and she took advantage of me.

Had a scare when one of the barn owners indicated she would miss seeing my mare. When I got through freaking out, she explained that the mare had been sleeping in an outside pen where she could view her from the house. Now that one of the temporary boarders was leaving, she'd be back in the barn and she'd miss seeing her when she looked out her window. I scrubbed the mare's halter as it was covered in mud from sleeping outside. When I went to hang it up outside her stall I noticed there was mud on her face that had been hidden by the halter. I got out my face brush and she held still while I cleaned her up. She can be so good. On the other hand, she is still moving her butt away from the mounting block. She even did it to my trainer so I was slightly vindicated.

Yesterday I planted carrot seeds. I can't be bothered growing vegetables for us but will plant for my ponies. I planted one row and will start a second row once these sprout.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Look Ma, No Hands!

Rode two-point with my arms outstretched to the sides on Friday. Granted, me and the mare did it at a walk while the others trotted but in our defense it was because we aren't allowed to trot over the poles. I assume because she is so much larger than the other horses that she'd be landing on the poles instead of going over them. One of the classes ahead of us had been jumping(!) without reins which is what gave our trainer the idea.

No new foal as of Friday. Maybe tomorrow it will be there. There is supposed to be at least one mare and foal at the Stallion Parade today. I hope it doesn't rain as predicted.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone, even if you're like me and don't have two-legged kids.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Child is Still Sick

I sure hope she's carrying the same germs so that I've already been there/done that with whatever it is she has. She had been to a doctor and now has a prescription. They seem to think that she may have gotten a sinus infection due to her inability to thoroughly blow her nose. Her mom put her hair in two ponytails on top of her head and she looked just like Boo in Monsters, Inc. Too adorable. BTW, I see that they're making a sequel - Monsters University I believe its called - due out in 2013. Can't wait.

I was able to say goodbye to their dog. In fact, I was down on my knees petting her before I'd even acknowledged some of the other people in the room. You could tell it was time by the look in her eyes. She was a sweetie but we're all relieved that she's no longer in pain.

My husband and I were watching a movie yesterday where at one point the groom spilled something on the bride's gown. She said something to the effect of, "That's okay, I won't be wearing it again," and I piped up, "Unless you're Marie Osmond." My husband looks at me incredulously and says, "Why did you say that?" so I filled him in on Marie remarrying her first husband wearing the same gown as she had in the '80's. He then starts holding his head and moaning as to why in the world I know this and, worse yet, why does he now know it. Good times. He accused me the other day of deliberately thinking up ways to drive him crazy. Hell yeah! I lay awake nights plotting. Then, I actually dreamed that Marie and her husband had brought one of their kids to the barn for a riding lesson and I told the story to her. She got a good laugh out of it. I know some people can find hidden meaning in their dreams but I almost always can relate mine to something that has occurred in my waking life. Maybe because I'm in a half stupor most of the time?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sometimes I Actually Finish A Project


My mother-in-law said not to send her flowers for Mother's Day this year. Too bad I already had stitched up this picture for her. I picked it up from the framer's last night and got it wrapped and in the mail today. It may not make it by Sunday. She lives in the mountains and I think the USPS service is slower there.

Going to babysit this afternoon for a short time while the parents take one of their dogs to the vet to be put to sleep. They just called to say that the dog's not doing well so they moved up her appointment time. I'll be heading their way in about 30 minutes. They were blindsided by a diagnosis of cancer that has apparently metastasized throughout her body.

I know my elder dog will probably not make it through the summer but I bought over 50 pounds of kibble at the vet's yesterday for him. My husband thinks I'm in denial. Not really, but I prefer to stay optimistic. Maybe he'll live long enough to eat it all, although yesterday was not a very good day for him. He seemed better today.

On a positive note, one of the mares at the barn could foal any day now. In fact, there might be a new baby already. I'll find out tomorrow when I go for my lesson. I plan to drive out to the Valley on Sunday for the Parade of Stallions. I've never gone before but it should be fun.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I'm Alive, Barely

This has been a wicked cold. I could use a skin graft for the area under my nose and I'm sure at least one tree has been sacrificed to the Kleenex factory on my behalf. The cough is hanging on also. Last Saturday was the worst. I was too sick to even want to go to the stable but sat around all day in a stupor. I've gradually been getting better and accomplishing quite a bit around the house, albeit with a tissue constantly at the ready.

I did make it to my riding lessons this past week and they were both quite good. The mare has been sleeping in an outside paddock. She was pretty muddy yesterday and since I was running late only got a perfunctory grooming before the lesson. I made up for it afterwards and she looked pretty darn good if I do say so myself. She's managed to rip her new blanket already and is in trouble with the barn manager. She's just a big tomboy.

Our television broke about 10 days ago. We had a repairman come out to give us an estimate. He was supposed to get back to us yesterday but never called so my husband called the shop. Now we're told that the parts are on back order and they may not even be able to get them at all. So I guess we're going shopping for a new TV today since our old eyes can barely see the picture on the 19" screen we've been making do with. The hockey playoffs are on and we can't find the puck!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Whining

My brain feels like it's stuffed with cotton, my chest aches and my throat hurts. Right now I'm sweating and I don't know if it's fever or a hot flash - they're pretty interchangeable. I'm hoping a hot, steamy shower will alleviate some of these ills.

Had a lesson with the other trainer on Monday. She said that every time she saw me I looked like I'd dropped weight. My secret? Going from a puffy down vest to a fuzzy fleece vest and then wearing a khaki vest. It's all an optical illusion. I really like my "new" khaki vest because it has a bunch of huge pockets for carrots, kleenex and life's other necessities. I got it off of ebay. Since I opened my mouth and indicated I'd like to help more around the barn I was given a few tasks to accomplish. One was holding one of the ponies while she got clipped - easy peasy. Then I braided "my" mare's mane so that it all lay on one side of her neck. Her mane naturally parts about halfway down her neck so one half lays on one side and the other half on the other. After it starts to lay correctly they're going to pull it. What am I going to hold onto when I'm standing in the stirrups???? I think I'm also going to be responsible for keeping her paddock clean. It drives my husband nuts that I perform manual labor for free but this way I get the illusion of owning a horse without the cost or responsibility.

The trainer had me posting at a walk. This is supposedly a good exercise to help strengthen my thighs. Much mane clutching on my part. When it finally came to posting at a trot I was supposed to keep my rear from touching the saddle. Um, major fail. In fact I smacked the saddle so hard a couple of times that I actually felt sorry for the horse. Overall it was a good lesson and I feel like I'm learning some valuable techniques. The book I mentioned - Living With Horsepower - talks a lot about visualization and mental telepathy (for lack of a better expression) when working with horses. Supposedly it is an innate talent for some but can be learned by anyone with strong enough motivation. I'll be sure and write about the first time one of the horses "speaks" to me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Long and Boring Entry

A lot of little things going on. Let's see if I can recap the past week. Monday's lesson went well except for the fact that I can't canter to save my life. The minute the mare gets going I start posting which, of course, is her cue to trot and we're done. I am reading a really interesting book called Living With Horsepower by Rebekah F. Witter. I wonder if I will ever have a smidgen of the knowledge that the contributers to this book share.

I spoke to my trainer about volunteering at the summer horse camp. Sometimes getting her to be open about her opinions is like pulling teeth but I discerned that she was less than thrilled at, (1) my receiving lessons from someone else that might contradict hers, and, this is the biggie, (2) the fact that this business is going to be run out of the Municipality's equestrian center which is not supposed to compete with local stables. At least that was the agreement when it was created over 20 years ago. The horse community is suffering economically like everybody else and the people operating the facility are probably trying to bring in extra income to keep it running. I suppose the rules have been altered over the years to allow this but I don't want to partake in something that is opposed by my barn. So, I told her I would be willing to volunteer there as it's really more about getting me up and moving than it is about riding so I hopefully will be able to work something out there. I'll e-mail the other woman and let her know I won't be available after all.

I ordered some new splint boots, a heavy duty hoof brush and some blanket straps yesterday. I came within an inch of buying a new leather halter but decided to wait until I'd attended some of the horse events here to see if any vendors are selling them at a better price. My husband caught me looking at dressage saddles again on line. I'm also waiting to see if the equine swap meet has a saddle before I order one from out of state.

I babysat on Thursday and the kid had a cold. Guess who's coming down with one now? This time it's not a hint but full fledged throat and sinus onslaught. We also had dinner with her and her grandparents on Saturday so I got a double exposure. Just hope my husband doesn't catch it because he is so miserable when sick.

When I got to the barn on Friday the farrier was there so I groomed the mare inside a stall to stay out of the way. I couldn't find the splint boots I use because one of the kids was using them on a pony (excuse for buying my own) I had to wait until their lesson was done before grabbing them. Then, the young girl in our group grabbed my horse's girth. Not a biggie except the girth I ended up using had sheepskin on it and was too big around to be able to slide the breastplate on it. I managed to get through the lesson without killing my privates.

Woke up Saturday morning to the refrigerator making an enormous racket. It sounded like a helicopter was flying overhead and apparently it had started at 0200 hours. My husband is a genius and can fix almost anything. It turned out to be the compressor fan. He first worked on the old one and it stayed quiet only for a couple of minutes. He ended up buying a new part and it's been working perfectly ever since. I don't know if you all clean behind your refrigerator on a regular basis but I don't so had to do copious amounts of vacuuming and scrubbing.

We've been cleaning up the yard and pretty much finished up yesterday. We gathered up all the fallen branches from the windstorm a while back. Now the snow just needs to finish melting and the yard to dry out. It's pretty squishy right now and the dogs smell really wonderful after being out for any length of time. It would be a waste of time to bathe them right now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Meanderings

I survived the windstorm last week. Friday's lesson went really well and none of us screwed up in any major way. We trotted a lot working on our endurance. I was able to get the mare go from a stop to a trot without any problem since she was in a willing mood. Funny how that works. I've used a breastplate the last couple of lessons and think it's helping the saddle to stay in place. I've read how it may constrict the horse's movement and/or cause pain, so am keeping a close eye on that. All of the horses are shedding and the four of us on Friday produced an awesome amount of hair. I used a rubber mitt on the mare's face and got a ton of short hairs off. I'm going to do it again today, along with her legs.

We had a local election here last Tuesday. My husband and I mail in our votes. He pointed out that the instructions for correctly filling out and mailing in the ballot are designed so a five year old could understand them, yet the issues themselves are worded in such a way that you can't tell whether you're voting for or against something. Just doesn't seem right.

I have received several interesting political e-mails recently that I'm considering posting here. We'll see. I also received one supposedly showing baby pandas and how they were effected by the earthquake. Um, people, the earthquake was in Japan. The pandas are in China, which, according to Google, was not effected by an earthquake. Get a clue.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stormy Weather

A high wind warning is in effect for the Anchorage Hillside and Turnagain Arm until 4 p.m., with winds up to 75 mph possible. The National Weather Service says gusts up to 45 mph are possible in south and west parts of the city.

I am selfishly glad that I am not responsible for tending any horses on a day like today. I'm sure it makes them skittish. There is snow/rain mixed in with the wind so I'm sure being outside is a miserable experience. I hope we have decent weather this summer. Some years it seems like it snows all winter and rains all summer. I guess I should look into some kind of lightweight waterproof pants to wear if I'm going to be working outside. Some kind of hat might be good also. I have a problem with hoods in that when I turn my head, the hood stays facing forward so I end up looking at the inside of the hood instead of what I'm actually trying to see. Mucho irritating.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So Far So Good

Sunday's barn show was so much fun. I love to see the little ones on the ponies. One young girl, I'd guess in the 12 to 14 age range, rode "my" mare. She got a blue ribbon in one class and a yellow in another. I was impressed with how the mare looked. It's hard to imagine her movement from her back.

Yesterday's lesson started out as if I had never ridden a horse before in my life. I don't know what was going through her mind but the mare sure didn't want to listen to me. After some time of this my trainer said, "I'm going to go get something to help you." She came back with a crop in her hand. All my mare had to do was see it and she straightened right up and we ended on a terrific note. It was never applied to her and I never even held it; she is that smart.

The lady with the summer riding camp and I finally spoke today. I think we are very compatible and it turns out she is going to take on a lot of volunteers to spread the work load. Also, she has done this before and knows that people start out eager beavers and then quit after they discover the lack of glamour to horse care. She will have fifteen horses, twelve beginners and three intermediate. It sounds like it will be a lot of fun. Now we just have to wait for the weather to improve - it was practically white out blizzard this morning but reached 40 degrees this afternoon. I guess I'm as "in" as anybody at this point.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Keeping My Fingers Crossed

I applied for a barn helper position that I saw on Craigslist Saturday. It appears to be a work in exchange for riding lessons position. I sent an e-mail with my horse-related experience, age, and the fact that I'm not in the best physical condition but am hoping barn work would help improve that. She promptly responded with some information about what would be expected of me and if I was still interested, to call her. I left a message yesterday afternoon and am now waiting for a return call.

She is starting up a new facility and plans to open for business the end of May. I get the impression she may be offering a kid's camp with games and trail rides. These are positives for me as I figure she won't be offering wild, out of control horses plus it would give me an opportunity to do some trail riding. Her ad mentioned the possibility of showing. I plan to attend a lot of local shows this summer as a spectator so this might give me some behind-the-scenes experience.

If I get the job I hope to continue lessons where I'm currently riding, maybe cut down to once a week. I really like it there plus this sounds like a seasonal position so I want to keep good relations with the stable that offers year-round instruction. I don't know if there is any kind of rivalry between barns and don't want to jeopardize my relationship there.

Speaking of my current barn, the schooling show is today and I'm going to head out the door shortly. I hope someone will be riding "my" mare as I've never had an opportunity to watch her being ridden. I'd like to see how she moves.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Marital Moment

Turner Classic Movie's star of the month for March has been Jean Harlow so we've enjoyed watching her movies on Tuesday evenings. I think it was in The Girl from Missouri where she fell in love with a rich man who thought she was a gold digger. At one point she was telling him that she would be willing to take elocution, tennis and riding lessons to better herself and make her more acceptable to his friends. I pointed out to my husband that I should be able to fit into high society since I take riding lessons. Look up utter disbelief in the dictionary - you'll find his face.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

V. P.’s Aide Apologizes to Journalist Locked in a Closet

March 28, 2011

An aide to Vice President Joe Biden has apologised to a reporter who was locked in a closet for hours after he was invited to cover a Florida political fundraiser because they did not want him talking with the guests.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said the decision to hold local reporter Scott Powers there was a ‘mistake’.

And she claimed an inexperienced staffer had put Powers in the closet instead of a ‘hotel room’ as was their normal practice.

The Orlando Sentinel reporter was ushered into the closet inside wealthy property developer Alan Ginsburg’s Winter Park mansion, after being told that Joe Biden and Senator Bill Nelson had not yet arrived.

He was told he could only come out when the politicians were ready to give their speeches.

After 90 minutes he was allowed out to hear Biden and Nelson speak for 35 minutes, before being taken back to the closet for the remainder of the event.

The incident is especially embarrassing for the administration because it comes at a time when the White House has been condemning the treatment of journalists trying to report in Libya.

Just ten days ago, President Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney told reporters: ‘journalists should be protected and allowed to do their work.’

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Who Knew?

Carol at Dressage Training Journal and her commenters were discussing when a horse blows and snorts that it is a good thing. Here I thought my mare was venting her frustration at having big old me on her back and a tight girth so she couldn't breath. Apparently she is liking what we're doing, thus the title to this post.

Stupid saddle slipped back quite a ways yesterday and I didn't feel like getting off and fixing it so now have beaten up lower extremities as a result. The trainer gave me a new girth for her, it's more elastic than the old one, so I was extra cautious when tightening it. The saddle didn't slip sideways when mounting but I noticed there was more sweat than usual underneath the girth after class. Her old one was sheepskin so probably was better at absorption.

Whippersnapper has missed two weeks in a row so I'm thinking she may have changed her lesson days. We had another young woman join us last night. Lots of trotting and going over poles. We were supposed to try to canter over the last two poles, um, not very successfully on my part. I think I'm going to ask if we can work on cantering more during my private lessons. Mare is funny in that she thinks she needs a lot of elevation to clear poles lying on the ground. Her front goes up much higher than necessary when we trot over them. My goal is to "stay with her" when she does that and not fall forward.

There is going to be a barn show in April. I think I'll just observe from the sidelines. I don't feel ready to put myself out there for others to observe, no matter how supportive.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stink Eye

One of the parakeets was asleep when I opened the blinds by their cage this morning. He didn't bother to untuck his head but opened one eye and glared at me. It was hysterical.

Had a good lesson on Monday with nothing new to report, i.e., mare still shedding. She looked adorable after I brushed out her forelock - it was sooo fluffy. Watched a show on RFD TV last night where a man was plowing with a Shire horse. OMG - its legs looked like they were covered with Hawaiian grass skirts. I'd hate to try to keep those clean.

Went to a podiatrist on Tuesday. I noticed a while back that the middle toe on my right foot was crooked. The doctor thinks I must have broken it at some point. Who breaks their toe without realizing it? Me, apparently. I'm not going to have surgery for purely cosmetic reasons so will have to learn to love my latest deformity.

Started reading Cross by James Patterson while waiting for the doctor. It's a real page turner and I've almost finished it already. That's pretty fast for me as I usually only read a few pages at bedtime before falling asleep.

Today would have been my sister-in-law's 58th birthday. I hope she's at peace.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I think this may be significant (not horse related)

From an e-mail I received:

Always important to watch what is going on behind the scenes, and, usually, scarcely covered in the newspapers.

Little by little the subtle changes come until one day we will wake up and be the United Socialist States of America. 2012 is just around the corner so get and stay engaged as if our nation depended on it because it does!!!!!

U.S. Department of Justice ditches red, white, and blue stars and stripes.


Well, how interesting! It seems the U.S. Department of Justice has changed its web site. Gone are the colorful red, white, and blue U.S. Flag decorations on the page.

Replaced by stark black and white.


And at the top of the page, is a rather interesting quote:
"The common law is the will of mankind, issuing from the life of the people."

Catchy, huh? Just one tiny little (too small to be relevant obviously) point --the quote is from C. Wilfred Jenks, who in the 1930's was a leading proponent of the "international law" movement, which had as its goal to impose a global common law and which backed 'global workers' rights.'

Call it Marxism, call it Progressivism, call it Socialism -- under any of those names, it definitely makes the DOJ look corrupt in their new website with Marxist accessories to match.

See for yourself

How very interesting that 'they' couldn't find a nice quote from one of our Founders. People, we have lost our Republic. This is an example of the slow, methodical misuse of power our current government is doing as they lead us to socialism, and destroying our republic as we have known it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Knut, Dead at Age Four


I don't know a lot of celebrity names but immediately recognized Knut's. RIP little buddy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Clarification

I misrepresented the yelling in my last post. The instructor is not yelling at me in an angry fashion - just has her voice raised so I can hear her from the other side of the arena. I was trying to go for sort of a tongue-in-cheek essay but I obviously didn't succeed. I'm pretty sure I need hearing aids. I did have my hearing tested several years ago and the man said I was borderline. I'm probably beyond that now. I do have a hard time hearing if there are several sources of noise happening simultaneously. That has always been a problem for me, however. I hated when I'd be on the phone and people would be carrying on a different conversation standing in front of my desk. I think it may be related to my inability to multi-task.

Me during a lesson:

At a couple of points in our lesson last night we looked like the Keystone cops. None of us could seem to coordinate our positions so we'd all be bunched up together or we'd all decide to cross the arena at the same time to get away from each other. We finally got ourselves pulled together and had a really fun lesson. We decided where the poles on the ground were going to be laid and then each developed our own pattern for going over them at walk, trot and/or canter. I even managed to canter for a couple of beats at the end.

I prepared bran mash for all of the horses after class. The smallest pony was in an outside pen so I put the bucket in front of my feet when I turned to re-latch the gate upon entering. The next thing I know I have a pony head between my legs helping himself to the mash. I am Miss Popularity on mashing days. Everybody is shedding and I've been used twice as a scratching post for horse heads.

The moon was just rising over the mountains when I was driving home. It was beautiful. The icy road conditions not so much.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Snowing

About three inches so far. My husband asked if it depressed me and I said no. I'm used to it after living in Alaska for 36 years. It used to bring me down back in the seventies. We've had lots of bright sunshine recently and more is predicted for tomorrow. One aspect of our weather that took some getting used to is that sunny days are colder than cloudy ones in the winter. Apparently the clouds hold in the heat (totally unscientific explanation) I would go outside without wearing a jacket on sunny days my first spring and would about freeze to death. I grew up in California and sunny skies meant warmth. Not here. Anyway, I know this snowfall will melt relatively quickly, even though more is predicted for Sunday. We've had snow in May. Never June that I can remember.

Had a semi-craptastic lesson on Monday with a different instructor than my regular lady. It started out great - tacked up the horse, walked her around and then mounted her on my first attempt as if I actually knew what I was doing. It was grand and I felt terrific. My regular instructor is always telling me to take up my reins - this other woman kept telling me to loosen them and move me hands in tempo with the horse's head. I have a feeling this should be a natural rhythm and not take so much effort on my part to make it happen. It felt totally forced.

Then I was corrected when I was told to move the horse from, say, the letter M diagonally across the ring (to K?) Apparently this lady wants me to have the horse's rear at the letter when I start the diagonal as opposed to her front, which is what I have been doing. At least that was the impression I was getting when she was shouting, "No, no, no!" at me. Sometimes I just feel like an idiot. But, on a positive note, she did say that I showed a lot of improvement from the last time she gave me a lesson and that I was doing a lot of self-correcting and wasn't getting as flustered when she yelled at me. (It's probably that I'm just becoming desensitized to being yelled at since it happens all the time) - (kidding)

Then it came time to dismount which I totally know how to do and no longer hit the mare's butt with my right leg. I'm halfway off when she yells at me to look at the horse's head (why?) which caused me to flop around on top of the saddle and almost not get my left foot out of the stirrup in time. I told her I usually do much, much better but still was told to do exercises to strengthen my legs. Bah!

Have to go shovel snow before husband finishes his portion and berates me for still being in my pj's. It appears to have stopped snowing as I wrote this.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Money Is No Object

Had a couple of comments about the expensive horses I was looking at. Some site I was looking at the other day mentioned Trakehner horses - a breed I'd never heard of. So I of course had to Google it and found The American Trakehner Association.

Here's the $65,000 gelding.

I couldn't relocate the $90,000 one but did find a $100,000 bargain:

Several months ago the Sunday Parade section of the newspaper featured Tom Sellick and mentioned that his daughter competed at show jumping. Some of the women at my barn have competed in California and I asked if they'd ever met her - they had. I made some comment that it must be nice to have a millionaire father to support a horse habit and was informed that, believe it or not, their money can't begin to be compared to some of the other horse owners. So the economy may be hurting for most of us but it hasn't impacted the uber rich.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Meanderings

There were only two of us at last evening's lesson. The other woman was on a horse that she'd never ridden before. He can be challenging but by the end of the lesson was behaving better for her than he does for the woman who usually rides him. I was impressed.

My mare wasn't real happy to see me and actually turned her butt to me when I went to get her out of her pen. She also was giving me fits when I tried to bridle her so I knew I was in for a fun ride. She actually didn't behave badly but I just wasn't getting that feeling of us being in harmony that I have on other occasions. We did a ton of trotting so by the time the instructor had us lose the stirrups I could barely keep my legs in position. I kept being corrected to use my thighs, not my knees. The saddle slipped a little when I dismounted so somebody had been extra contrary at tightening the cinch. She is cinchy and goes into drama queen agony before I even get the straps hooked to the billets. Having the saddle slip when I mount is my biggest fear and I think is why I'm always so hesitant when it's time to get on which in turn gives her the opportunity to move away from the mounting block. Vicious circle.

I talked to my instructor before class about how I'm not ready to enter any "real" shows this year. We agree that I should attend and observe these shows and if I'm to do any competing it should just be at the barn shows. I can get by wearing my paddock boots and half chaps (cleaned up, of course) white breeches, a shirt and jacket.

My desire for my own dressage saddle has turned into more of an argument than a discussion with my husband. I don't think he's going to be a good horse husband. Yesterday he was grumbling about what a racket it is that students pay "them" to groom "their" horses. I don't dare tell him about the other stuff I voluntarily do like sweeping the aisles, hauling water, etc. He always thinks I'm being taken advantage of when in reality I'm doing something I want to do. You'd be hard pressed to get me to do something I dislike for nothing. He had a horse as a kid and is totally over them. I'm just beginning this journey and I hope it doesn't turn into a contention in our lives together. He'd probably have a heart attack if he knew I was looking at horses for sale in the $60,000 to $90,000 range the other day. I like to window shop. I don't feel compelled to buy. He doesn't bother looking at something unless he's actually in the market for it. He says it makes him depressed to look at stuff he can't have. Not me, I love to fantasize.

Speaking of fantasies, if I was a magician I could construct a horse out of all the hair my horse is shedding. She's getting darker as she's shedding out. I think she's dun colored and I am considering dragging my hair dresser to the stable to see if she could color my hair the same as her mane. It has a bunch of different colors, including silver, which would be appropriate for my age.