Tuesday, December 25, 2012

No sugarplum visions for me

Oh heck no. I dream about day after Christmas sales and getting to the Hallmark store after everything's been sold out.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Postal Mystery

We moved in October. I dutifully made a trip to the local post office to obtain a change of address packet (the last time we moved was 1979 when this is how it was done) But no, the USPS, a company you think would embrace the concept of snail mail, now wants you to notify them of address changes via their website. There's also the added bonus of charging a buck for this service. Whatever.

So I filled out the proper form online, paid the fee and my mail has been forwarded accordingly. I have notified friends and businesses of the change.

Here's where it gets curious. We have recently received several pieces of mail from sources we do not correspond with. These don't have the little yellow forward sticker but our name and address is entered correctly with no need for forwarding. I'm pretty sure all of them are soliciting donations. Did the post office sell our name and address to bulk mailing companies? Weird.

So today is Christmas Eve which of course led to a discussion of why isn't it called the day before Christmas since eve technically isn't until dusk or thereabouts. (Can you see why my husband exasperates me at times?) This all started because he wanted to take garbage to the landfill and I told him it was closed on Christmas Eve.

Anyway, I think I'll drive to Anchorage and take some cookies for the barn owners and carrots for the horses. I also have a friend whose Cavalier King Charles Spaniel had puppies that I'm dying to cuddle.

I hope everyone who reads this has a wonderful holiday. May Santa be good to you.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Admit It, I Drank The Kool-Aid

I watch HGTV when there aren't reruns of House, Storage Wars or Duck Dynasty to be found. House Hunters lured me in with the worship of hardwood floors. People wouldn't consider homes with wall to wall carpeting and were thrilled to find hardwood beneath such coverings.

So, fast forward to my first glimpse of our new home - hardwood floors galore! "Ooh," I gushed. "How beautiful and oh so in vogue." Only three rooms have carpet.

Having lived with these floors for a couple of months, the honeymoon is definitely over. They have to be swept/vacuumed/Swiffered on a daily basis to stay decent looking. That's an hour out of my day. I hate being a slave to housework. Plus, you have to move the furniture every day because dust and dog hair roll under and behind every piece.

So I ask, what is the attraction? Do people like being Stepford Wives? All the advocates state that they're cleaner but it's just because they have to be constantly maintained IMO.

Oh, and let's not forget how noisy they are. I am clipping the dog's nails all the time to try and keep the click clack of little feet to a dull roar. I have spent a considerable amount of money on area rugs that they constantly displace, despite the non skid mats underneath, in an effort to secure some peace and quiet.

My husband isn't thrilled that I want to add carpeting to my short list of things we definitely need for the house. Let him maintain them for a couple of months and see if he doesn't sing a different tune.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chicago's Got Nothing On Wasilla

Windy city, indeed. We have a patio set that has survived at least 45 years. Last night the wind picked up the table and shattered the 3/4" glass top. Needless to say the chairs are not in their designated places either. The wind is supposed to calm down by Friday afternoon so we'll wait until then to pick up the pieces.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

-5, feels like -18. Also high wind advisory

Ack. I've been visiting different stables in the area. One that I've ridden at twice does not have a heated arena. Weather information like the above gives me pause about returning there. Yesterday I rode at a barn with not only a heated arena but, drumroll please, indoor plumbing! Although a veteran user of port-a-potties, I was delighted to see not only a toilet but hot and cold running water; two barn luxuries which have been sadly missing from my life. Bet you can guess who's going to be getting my business. It doesn't hurt that I liked the instructor and her horse either. The first horse I rode at the "cold" barn didn't thrill me but I rode a different mare last week that I liked a lot more. Yesterday I rode a gelding and he was a very good boy.

I've committed to ride at the warm barn Friday and then will have a lesson at the cold barn Sunday. Hopefully I will be able to locate the girth extender that I accidentally left there last week. None of the horses I've been riding have the physique of the Belgian mare I'm used to. I used a 54" girth with an extender on her, whereas the girth alone was too large for the gelding. In somewhat related news, my saddle has fit these horses so at least I don't have to invest in a replacement.

Had a great Thanksgiving. I don't know if it was due to the convection oven, but the turkey was extra delicious.

Now I'm gearing up for Christmas. We were going to hang some icicle lights outside today but the high wind warning will probably kill that plan. Guess that means I should deal with some more of the boxes still scattered about.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Neverending Move

Nobody should take this long to get re-situated. I've stopped trying to predict when we'll get everything done. I think we'll call a charity this week to pick up our donations and we will make however many dump runs it will take to dispose of the rest of the crap. We still have the sheds in the back yard to deal with.

I dropped by my former barn yesterday for their horse show/costume competition. It was so great to see everyone and visit with all the horses. Of course I brought carrots so they (the horses) were glad to see me. One of the girls dressed up as Minnie Mouse and had giant mouse ears for her horse. So cute.

I spend my computer time searching for furniture on Craigslist and have only managed to read blogs sporadically. I sure hope I haven't missed any fantastic news/stories that others have shared.

Here is a picture of the book boxes I unpacked a couple of days ago. Wish I could say that was all of them but unfortunately, not.

Bart is hoping Winston is buried somewhere under there.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Home Stretch

The movers are scheduled for next Monday to transport all the heavy furniture to the new house. We are scrambling to move everything else before then. After this house is empty we need to have new vinyl flooring put in the kitchen and downstairs entry/laundry room. We'll get a handyman to patch the walls that Bart ate when he was a puppy and fix a few other items. I would love to get the kitchen repainted or, better yet, have a tile backsplash installed. We'll have someone come in and do a thorough cleaning and shampoo the carpet and then this place will be ready to rent. Too bad we missed the prime season before school started but perhaps there are a few desperate families out there looking for a four bedroom. One can only hope.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I Like To Move It, Move It

Not really. Moving is hard work. It's an hour each way from our current home to the new house and I'm starting to suffer white line fever. Yesterday in a desperate attempt to cut down on the number of trips we rented a 26 foot U-Haul. It took most of the day to load/unload and doesn't seem to have made a discernible dent in the amount of stuff yet to be relocated. I've set an optimistic goal of having everything moved by the 13th. We'll see...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My House is Delicious

There's going to be nothing left if these #*!@ dogs don't stop chewing on it. I know I posted pictures of Bart's earlier destruction and now Winston is working on the stair railing. He's got his permanent teeth so has no excuse for this behavior.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we close on the new house next week. Of course we'll have no money left for the actual move but I guess we'll deal with that somehow. All my plans for new furniture are indefinitely on hold. I hate being strapped for cash (and where the heck did that expression come from, anyway?)

Monday, September 3, 2012

House Update

Still haven't closed on the new house. The assessor low-balled the value of our current home so we can't borrow as much against it as we'd anticipated. Our realtor talked to her about looking at some different comps., which she has agreed to, so now we're waiting to see if she will adjust accordingly. Won't hear anything until tomorrow at the earliest since today is a holiday. We have an extension until Sept. 14.

We can still afford the other house but just wouldn't have as much money left over for the new roof, fence, moving expenses, etc.

Re: the roof. The house was built in 1983 and our inspector found several places on the roof that needed repair. The additions that were built in 2003 looked fine so the whole roof did not need replacing. However, the materials wouldn't match and the roof would look odd so the current owners got an estimate for an entire new roof and knocked over half the cost of it off our purchase price. They agreed to fix anything else found by the inspection. The water quality test came back excellent (well water) and they had the septic tank pumped so it should be good for quite a while.

All this waiting has me frazzled. I can't seem to get motivated until we actually sign on the dotted line. Thank goodness for time spent at the barn. The horses demand my full attention and I can focus on them for the duration of the time I spend there and forget about the stress of waiting to move.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Are The Olympics Over Yet?

I wanted to see the equestrian events but never managed to get up in the middle of the night to watch them. Fortunately, all the horsey blogs I read have kept me updated. I only managed to catch bits and pieces of marathon running (boring) and women's individual vaulting. Yahoo news did a pictorial of all the sour looks on silver medalists faces. Don't authority figures teach good sportsmanship any more? Now I know these athletes are "in it to win it" but doesn't the fact that they made it to the Olympics count for something? Take pride in that and accept your loss with grace. And please, please, please let this be Bob Costas' last gig at the Olympics. I got tired of changing the channel every time I saw his face.

So, it looks like we're moving. We saw the house I mentioned in my last entry on the following Saturday, came back to Anchorage and made an offer and it was accepted the next day. We had the home inspection done yesterday and I like the house even better on the second viewing.

I've started packing up boxes (hate) and can't wait to sign the final paperwork. There are excellent Internet sites with tips on moving and one advises to try to downsize by a third. I chucked a bunch of magazines into the recycling this week and even threw in my old yearbooks. I never looked at the darn things and they weighed a ton. Sure hope we can get settled into the new place before the snow flies.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's A Beautiful Morning

...and now I have the Young Rascals echoing through my head. Hope they go away soon. I can't believe that the sun is shining after so many gloomy days. We had sun last Thursday also. I headed off to a horse show after my grooming stint and although I had remembered to put sunscreen on my face, forgot to apply any to my neck and got a slight sunburn on one side.

This was the first time I actually got to witness any drama at a horse show. One of the participants won a couple of blue ribbons but exited the ring in tears. Now I happen to know that she is leaving for college soon so I'm thinking she's crying because this may be the last time she shows the horse for awhile or maybe she's going to sell it or something. Oh heck no - turns out she got yelled at by her trainer for wasting time canoodling with her boyfriend when she was supposed to be getting the horse ready. So much for my theory.

Found a house I liked last night online so have contacted our real estate agent about setting up a viewing. It seems perfect in every way so I'm sure there must be something wrong with it. I vacillate between resigning that we'll never move and should just fix up the house we're in and then getting excited over an MLS listing. Earlier in the day I had been researching landscaping companies because we need a new retaining wall and I am curious how much it would cost to replace our graveled area with paving stones.

Time to head for the barn. Hope my real estate agent sends an email for me to read by the time I get home.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Like It

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Long Sleeved Summer

With apologies to the rest of the nation, Anchorage is having the coldest July on record

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Happy Birthday to me. I was awakened by a telephone call from my BFF this morning with the opening, "Welcome to old age." We both turned 60 this year. Medicare is right around the corner. Aggravates me no end that its mandatory when I already have perfectly good health insurance. Of course that may all come to a screeching halt when certain legislation goes into effect.

We're not planning any special activities. I've got some bananas in the freezer as I want to try a banana ice cream recipe that I found on-line. I'm taking a batch of these to the barn today:

I purchased them from Becky on etsy, who is not limited to horses but said they are her most popular.


I bought a book entitled, "Still Riding at 80" that I'm going to read for inspiration one of these days. Right now I'm in the middle of reading a fantasy series. Also have an exercise book that one of the ladies at the barn claims changed her life. I managed to get through half of the exercises. They're only supposed to take 15 minutes but I have to read and re-read each exercise, execute it, then start again with the next one. I'm such a quitter.

Saw Bart chasing something across the yard this morning that turned out to be a baby blue jay. The adult birds were raising a racket. Fortunately, my husband was able to chase Bart off before he did any harm. (Note to self: Must work on obedience training and have both dogs master the "Come" command)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Riding Report

At last Monday's lesson I finally succeeded at the sitting trot without stirrups. I managed to stay seated without bouncing; I'm sure much to the mare's relief. I'm going to have to try it bareback next.

My trainer has been trying to get me to canter for some time now. When I first started riding two years ago I wondered when I'd be allowed to canter but it was a case of you must learn to walk before you can run. Now that I can walk (and trot!) I don't really even care if I ever master a canter. I'm sure I'll get it eventually.

Last night's group lesson was a lot of fun. We practiced making the horses circle without reins. I could get a right circle but when I tried for the left the horse kept going straight, I don't understand why shouting, "Left, left, dammit!" didn't work.

And here's what will be happening soon on the Winston front:

Friday, July 6, 2012


We really don't encourage him to stand on the TV trays. He accesses on his own from the recliner.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back to "Normal"

My husband's mom and her husband left this morning. Their flight was at 0630, boarding at 0540. We had to get up at 0345 so we could leave by 0415 because they were afraid of long lines at the airport and missing their flight. OMG. We had them at the airport and checked in over an hour before boarding time. I hope I don't get anxious about everything as I get older (I'll just up my Prozac prescription) On a positive note, I lost 3-4 pounds while they were here because it was almost impossible to relax.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's Raining, It's Pouring, I Wish I Was Snoring

Late to bed, early to rise
Makes me grumpy
And not very nice

Bart is on my short list. He will not stop barking any time my mother in law or her husband enter the room. He also barks if they dare to make noise after we're in bed. Consequently I'm on edge and sleep deprived. I got up at 5:00 to let Bart outside. Winston, of course, had to go too and I knew if I put him back in his pen, he would just start yapping his discontent. So I brought them both back into the bedroom where they proceeded to romp until I finally gave up any idea of getting more sleep.

It's raining on and off so leaving them outside is not really an option. Of course they're both sleeping like little angels now...

Hopefully coffee and a shower will help my lack of sleep headache go away. Anybody got any cheese to go with my whine?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday, June 11

My mother-in-law and her husband arrive tonight. The guest room is ready. The guest bath and the rest of the house, not so much. It will come together; it always does.
So many of my neighbors are having trees removed that it sounds like we're living in a lumber camp. Two houses across the street, our next-door neighbor and now the next block over. I confess that come autumn I always want to chop all of ours down because of the leaf raking, but I would never do it this time of year when they're at their prettiest. Although I will admit I cheered the demise of a huge cottonwood - the tree from hell.
Dragged the husband to Home Depot yesterday to buy replacement bulbs for the kitchen. The strobe like effect of the dying flourescents was giving me a headache. I also decided to replace the shower curtain liners in both bathrooms. I have been buying shower curtains for over forty years and this is the first time I managed to get the wrong size. I didn't know they made narrow liners. Anyway, now they have to be returned and replaced today since I didn't decide to hang them until about midnight yesterday.
I also have a riding lesson because I won't let a filthy house keep me from the barn. My priorities are my own.
Winston peed in the house at least three times yesterday. He hadn't had an accident in days; I guess because I was taking him outside all the time. Apparently he's still clueless.
And I guess I better stop avoiding the inevitable and get to scrubbing. Ugh.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Apparently Alaska Didn't Get The Memo

U.S. experiences warmest Spring on record

My trainer was just wondering the other day why she has to wear a turtleneck and drink hot chocolate to stay warm in June.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Attention Equestrians - Important Recall

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, 3,400 Happy Mouth bits are on recall. These products have shown a tendency to fray, rust, and weaken (metal inside rubber) resulting in numerous rider falls. Please call 866-569-1600, English Riding Supply from 9:00 am- 4:30 pm for more information and product ID numbers.

For your fellow riders safety, please reblog.

Information courtesy of The Aiding and Abetting Amateur

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

From Scotland?

I was in an Irish pub on Saturday night. Had a few.

I noticed two large women by the bar.

They both had strong accents so I asked, "Hey, are you two ladies from Scotland ?"

One of them chirped: "It's WALES you friggin' idiot!"

So, I immediately apologized and said..., "Sorry, are you two whales from Scotland ?"

That's the last thing I remember!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Meet Winston

10 weeks old. We picked him up last night.

Sadly, we lost our senior German Shepherd three weeks ago. I came home from the barn and my husband met me at the door to tell me that Boris had lost the use of his rear legs. X-rays didn't reveal an apparent cause. He was nine years old, the age we seem to lose most of our dogs. We could have opted to have a surgeon look at him the following morning but recovery would have taken months and since we have a two-level home, he would have been forced to live in the basement where we're pretty sure he would have been miserable since we spend the majority of our time upstairs.

Bart did not handle being an only dog well. He's been off his feed and started peeing in the basement (which is now closed off to him) He and Winston have already played together a lot and it looks like they will be good buddies. We just have to make sure Bart doesn't get overly boisterous and hurt the little guy.

Things have started to click for me with my riding. When I showed up at the barn on Monday another woman was riding "my" mare. I hoped I'd get to ride her afterwards, but no, I was assigned the gelding who had his way with me the last time I rode him. Well, three or four months later I am a different passenger and was able to show him that I was the boss. I also had a different instructor for this lesson. My instructor threatened to turn me over to her sister permanently when she saw how well the gelding and I were doing, as in, "Why can't you ride that well for me?" I dunno, it just came together this time.

Winston is asleep with his rear legs stretched out behind him. Wish the camera was within reach as I'm sure he'll reposition himself if I move. Oh well, I'll get a photo of that pose another time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If You Hate the New Blogger

Ashley shares how to get the old Blogger interface back (it works - I did it)

Monday, April 23, 2012


Tired of constantly being broke and stuck in an unhappy marriage, a young husband decided to solve both problems by taking out a large insurance policy on his wife with himself as the beneficiary and then arranging to have her killed.

A 'friend of a friend' put him in touch with a nefarious dark-side underworld figure who went by the name of 'Artie.' Artie explained to the husband that his going price for snuffing out a spouse was $10,000.

The husband said he was willing to pay that amount but that he wouldn't have any cash on hand until he could collect his wife's insurance money. Artie insisted on being paid at least something up front, so the man opened his wallet, displaying the single dollar bill that rested inside. Artie sighed, rolled his eyes and reluctantly agreed to accept the dollar as down payment for the dirty deed.

A few days later, Artie followed the man's wife to the local Wal-Mart Supermarket. There, he surprised her in the produce department and proceeded to strangle her with his gloved hands. As the poor unsuspecting woman drew her last breath and slumped to the floor, the manager of the produce department stumbled unexpectedly onto the murder scene. Unwilling to leave any living witnesses behind, ol' Artie had no choice but to strangle the produce manager as well.

However, unknown to Artie, the entire proceedings were captured by the hidden security cameras and observed by the shop's security guard, who immediately called the police. Artie was caught and arrested before he could even leave the premises.

Under intense questioning at the police station, Artie revealed the whole sordid plan, including his unusual financial arrangements with the hapless husband who was also quickly arrested.

The next day in the newspaper, the headline declared...

(You're going to hate me for this...)

'ARTIE CHOKES 2 for $1.00 @ Wal-Mart

Oh, quit groaning! I don't write this stuff. I receive it from my warped friends and then send it on to you.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Life As We Know It

I can't remember where I swiped this from. It's been on my desktop for quite a while.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The End is Nigh

Last week SmartPak advertised breeches on sale for the fuller figured woman (in my case, fat) I love the comfort of breeches and have two pair in black that I wear for lessons. Unfortunately my profile closely resembles Alfred Hitchcock so I always wear overhanging tops in the hope that it will disguise my gut. I'm sure the horse will tell you that this in no way fools her when my lard butt is on her back.

I am toying with the idea of competing in one dressage show this summer. The trainers at the barn think I'm ready for a walk/trot class. I still haven't decided, although I will have to soon as they will be planning their show schedule later this month.

Anyway, this is a long-winded entry to say that I ordered a pair of light tan breeches which arrived yesterday. They fit, so that is one item out of the way if I do decide to compete. I still need a proper shirt (a piece of clothing with an unfriendly neckline to a double chin) and jacket. I'd love to have good boots but at my level (bottom of the barrel) I can get away with paddock boots and half chaps. I'd also like a better helmet than my shiny Troxel but these are investments that can wait.

I am actually making a half-assed attempt at diet and exercise. Not for my health, naturally, but have you seen the girls/women who compete at English shows? Twigs, I tell you!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Craigslist Strikes Again

Yellow lab 9 weeks old, male, parents are pure bread American and English yellow labs. Moving must sell $400 call ###-####.

"Moving must sell." Dude, really? Most reputable breeders will not sell a puppy before it is eight weeks old (but this is Craigslist so all bets are off) It appears to me that you've had this pup for one or two weeks and have "just" discovered you have to move? Liar, liar, pants on fire.

I think you are some low-life who scooped up a "pure bread" (WTH?) puppy for cheap or free and are now trying to make some money off it. Not to mention that it is against the rules to sell pets on Craigslist. End of rant...

Last Monday's lesson was "awesome." Friday, once again I rode as if I'd never been on the back of a horse before. Fortunately I got myself straightened out and had a really good go at trotting a pattern over poles (we stayed in the middle - yay!) We (me and the horse/team concept) completely missed some of the poles the first few attempts. I've had using my legs and torso to steer drilled into my head so much that I hesitate to use the reins. I hope to talk to my trainer during today's private lesson to get a better idea of what is acceptable. I know not to saw at the horse's mouth, but not using the reins at all sends us out into no man's land instead of the desired direction.

Introduced a friend to Goodreads so she is now bugging me to update my reading list. I was happy just reading the monthly newsletter. She is also planning to write reviews. Overachiever.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Nuff Said

Trayvon Martin, 17, was killed on February 26 in Sanford, Florida, by George Zimmerman, 28, a white and Hispanic (emphasis mine) neighborhood watch volunteer who has claimed he acted in self defense and has not been charged with a crime.

This is bullshit. And by "this" I mean the insistence upon pointing out the evil white aspect of Zimmerman's heritage. You never see Obama referenced as white and black. Hell no, he is the first black president, for the most part ignoring his mother (although she is the one who gives him his oft-questioned U.S. residency legitimacy)

Talk about reverse discrimination.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Uninspired Ramblings

Spring is in the air and the snow seems to be melting at a reasonable rate without flooding everywhere. It's getting up into the 40's during the day and 20's at night. Bart discovered the joy of digging in the mud yesterday and we have the footprints on the carpet to prove it.

The memorial for J at the barn was lovely. I only stayed for about an hour and a half but there seemed to be a steady flow of visitors. I had helped scrub stalls the day before so everything was spic and span. There was a nice array of photographs displayed. J had been an artist prior to her disabling accident and they had some of her artwork exhibited. There was also a screen hooked up to a DVD player showing her back in the day when she was still riding. There were blank books scattered around where people could write their memories. I don't think her girls could have put together a nicer tribute.

I am volunteering at grooming one day a week in addition to my twice weekly lessons. Hopefully my body is getting in better condition. I helped lug around 30 pound packages of stall bedding last Saturday. That's almost as good as lifting weights, right?

I am improving my balance while in the saddle and had an awesome lesson this past Monday. The majority of the time was spent riding without stirrups and using my legs to get the horse to travel in a large circle. Somehow this is improved by keeping my eyes focused not only in the center of the circle, but up, almost to the ceiling. I don't get it but it works. I have to remember to keep my right shoulder up and back because I can't spend the rest of my life riding with my hand on top of my helmet.

One of my friends had hernia surgery a while back so she and I have been watching movies together once a week. So far we've seen Buck, Sex and the City 1 and 2, and the old Disney classic Sleeping Beauty. Yesterday we splurged and saw Mirror Mirror at a theater. It was okay - at least I didn't feel that I'd entirely wasted my money. What really surprised me is that I now want to see Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp. It looked really funny, which I didn't expect, plus the music is from the seventies, right up my era. There is also a Pixar film called Brave that's supposed to be released this summer that looked cute.

Friday, March 23, 2012

First Grade Drawing - PRICELESS!

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for her homework assignment.

The teacher graded it and the child brought it home.

She returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be perfectly clear on my child's homework illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint surrounded by male customers with money. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This drawing is of me selling a shovel.


Mrs. Harrington

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fate Rears Its Ugly Head

I'm not quite sure where to start here. As far as riding goes, I had a couple of not so wonderful lessons but this past Monday's was "awesome" in my trainer's opinion. Wednesday I got my hair cut and colored - it had been since November so I was long overdue. Afterwards I went to a friend's who had surgery recently and visited with her.

When I got home my husband said my trainer had called. Oh boy! Maybe she needed help at the barn! So I called her right back, got her voice mail and left a message. She called a few minutes later to tell me her mother had died the day before.

This is where this entry gets kind of tricky. The owners of my barn are very private people so I don't want to offend them. On the other hand, I feel compelled to write a small memorial.

My barn is owned by a woman and her two daughters. The mother, "J", had a training accident some years back that left her a paraplegic. I was not aware of this so the first time I had a lesson with "Mom" I was taken by surprise. "J" was a force to be reckoned with. She had a dynamic personality and would not let me get away with anything. She was excellent at having me refine my riding skills and would push me to get it right. She always said how much she enjoyed her adult students because she could be more forthright with them and not have to be as tactful as with the young kids. Our lessons together involved a lot of back and forth bantering.

I was always happy to run errands for her and help out in any way I could. Don't get me wrong, there were many, many people involved in her life more than I was. However, I was looking forward to getting to know her better. I knew she was reading the book, The Eighty Dollar Champion which I finished a short time ago. I was anticipating talking about it with her and finding out if she'd ever attended a National Horse Show. She may actually have seen the horse this book was written about. Last summer I did a little gardening for her and was looking forward to doing it again this year. I had also volunteered to help out with a horse show that she chaired. Now none of these things will happen the way I thought they would.

It's hard to believe that I'll never hear her counting, "One, two, three" in an effort at getting me to dismount quickly. Or, "Yeah, yeah, yeah" when I whined that I couldn't do something.

Her passing is such a shock because it was totally unexpected. I am trying to help out but also feel like somewhat of an outsider compared to those who have known the family for years. I'll bumble along the best I can.

"J" I will miss you. Your death has left a hole in my heart.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Apple Does It Again

Apple announced today that it has developed a breast implant that can store and play music. The iTit will cost from $499 to $699, depending on cup and speaker size. This is considered a major social breakthrough because women are always complaining about men staring at their breasts and not listening to them.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February 26 (I got nuthin for a title)

Babysit the kid yesterday. Brought along a horse DVD in the hopes of corrupting her since her mother is terrified of horses. No luck; she wanted to watch Elmo. I was told she could only have water or milk since she was experiencing diaper rash and they were afraid fruit juice might aggravate it. At one point I had the fridge door open and she latched onto some apple juice. I took it away, blaming grandma. I must have a cruel soul - her tears didn't bother me at all. Pretty soon we were back to chasing each other and shrieking at the top of our lungs. Good times.

I ordered a four tier free standing shelving unit for my locker at the stable. It is 25" wide and I found out the locker is only 24" (always measure after you place an order) Oh well, if I can't force it in there I can always use it at home. Unfortunately, this purchase apparently caused a Home Depot employee to attempt fraudulent use of my credit card as I received notice the following day that my credit card had been canceled and a replacement one issued. Now I'll have to memorize a new number, drat.

I was helping to move horses into the barn on Friday and had a slight mishap. I put a halter on one of the ponies and left the stall door open a bit when I went to retrieve my lead rope. He took the opportunity to kick his way out. Crap. Nothing like hearing, "Loose horse" throughout the barn. Fortunately he didn't get more than a few feet until someone caught him and I got the lead rope attached.

I got to ride the mare, who had pinned her ears back when I called out to her when I first got there - great. We had a pretty good lesson but not exceptional. I'm curious who I'll get to ride tomorrow. My cronies were excited to hear I'd ridden the gelding on Monday and wanted to know how it went. Others who've ridden him claim to have had the same steering issues as me.

Anchorage is supposedly due for another four to seven inches of snow. Guess I'll get my grocery shopping done before the storm starts.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Husband Store

A store that sells new husbands has opened in New York City , where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!

So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads:

Floor 1 - These men Have Jobs.

She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 2 - These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.

'That's nice,' she thinks, 'but I want more.' So she continues upward. The third floor sign reads:

Floor 3 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.

'Wow,' she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going. She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 4 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework.

'Oh, mercy me!' she exclaims, 'I can hardly stand it!' Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 5 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 6 - You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.


To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opened a New Wives Store just across the street.

The first floor has wives that love sex.

The second floor has wives that love sex and have money and like beer.

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This is Progress?

Last Friday's lesson was fabulous so I shouldn't have been shocked when I showed up at the barn yesterday and was told I would be riding a different horse. Ack! I've finally made enough progress to ride one of the more advanced lesson horses. Despite my whining and protests (I am nothing if not vocal) I agreed to have a lesson on this gelding. It was like riding an entirely different creature. I had a terrible time keeping him in a straight line and more than once we ended up going in a circle because I was giving the wrong cues. I basically just forgot everything - my heels were up, my hands were too high and I kept twisting and/or leaning my body. I was dripping with sweat and we never went beyond a walk. I have so much respect for the other ladies who I have seen ride him who don't seem to have these directional challenges. It didn't help that yesterday was a holiday so there were more people at the barn than usual to witness my performance; many of them youngsters who ride far better than I do and probably think I'm a idiot. Any perception that I might know more than them due to my advanced age was completely shattered. Actually that perception was probably wishful thinking on my part and they've known from day one that I am a newbie extraordinaire.

This horse demands total attention to detail. At one point I was distracted because it looked like the two barn cats were going to start fighting. The horse took this opportunity to meander off the track onto the quarter line. This is bad enough but my inability to get him back on the track was so frustrating. I tend to start using the reins when what he requires is correct leg and body cues. I am so grateful for patient trainers with positive feedback. I am both dreading and anticipating my next lesson to see if I'll be assigned him again or back to my usual mare who gives me the illusion that I know what I'm doing.

There was a barn show on Sunday and it was so much fun watching the competitions. A couple of the teens were jumping three foot fences. In fact, the horse I rode yesterday was ridden in some of the less advanced jumping classes. What a comedown for him to go from that to me. Have you ever seen resignation on a horse's face? That's the look he was giving me. Fortunately, I am the carrot queen so a lot is forgiven.

I discovered chai tea. Just what I need, another food craving.

Monday, February 13, 2012

So I Went

And it was okay. I chatted with one of the wives who really didn't know a lot of the people there and she mentioned how the room reminded her of a church basement. She hoped her memorial will be held in a prettier location. I told her of my desire to have my ashes exploded in a fireworks display. Whoever goes first will do their best to see that the other's wishes are upheld. My husband reassured me that he was well aware of my desire and promised to see it fulfilled if I die before him.

Apparently this man didn't have a will so his estate will be in probate. What a pain for his out of state relatives. The heat and electricity will have to remain turned on and someone pointed out that when the house finally can be sold, the fact that there was a suicide in it will have to be disclosed. No one knows why he decided to end his life.

We heard a thunk last night and assumed some snow had fallen off the roof. Later when my husband was letting the dogs out he looked around to see if he could locate what had caused the noise. We have a raised deck and you can see one side of the house from one end of it. There was a young moose curled up next to the house in what I can laughingly call one of my flower beds. We had never seen one laying so close to a dwelling and wondered if it was sick or injured. It was gone a couple of hours later so we're hoping it is okay. All the deep snow is hard on moose, especially the young ones.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


A man that worked where I used to (too large an employer to really consider a co-worker) committed suicide the week before last. We were acquaintances and I always enjoyed talking to him and even went so far as to buy him something that reminded me of him once and bake him a birthday cake another time. He was a single guy, kind of quirky, and I admit other than asking about him when I met with friends, really didn't think about him. I still am very saddened at this news and hope he didn't die thinking no one cared about him.

There is going to be a memorial potluck for him this evening. I can't decide if I want to attend or not. I know some of the people who will be there and I'm sure there will be others I've never met. That's not really my problem. I just have a deep and abiding hate for potlucks. Why can't people get together without making a party out of it? Maybe I'll just bring a big old box of wine and we can all get drunk and reminisce.

This is supposedly an occasion to meet his sister and niece. Prior to his death the sister didn't know where he worked and was surprised to see how much he looked like their father. Obviously not a close-knit family. Should I participate in what might be considered a farce?

I know deep down I don't want to go so probably won't. We'll see. Guilt may yet inspire me; I find it's my greatest motivator. I always hoped that when I became an adult I wouldn't have to do stuff I didn't want to. How is it now, more than ever, I'm forced into unwanted situations?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Financial Planning

Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business. When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune after his cancer stricken father died, he decided he needed to find a wife with whom to share his fortune.

One evening, at an investment meeting, he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away. "I may look like just an ordinary guy," he said to her, "But in just a few years my father will die and I will inherit $200 million."

Impressed, the woman asked for his business card and three days later, she became his stepmother.

Women are so much better at financial planning than men.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spring Fever

It got up to the mid-20's yesterday. Just as I got out of my truck at the barn, a sheet of ice about six feet in length fell crashing from the roof. My truck wasn't hit but I'll remember to park farther away for the next few weeks.

The warmer weather and longer hours of daylight are making the horses feel spunky (or "fresh" as I've heard one woman refer to it). "My" mare and a six year old gelding were waging war with each other as I was getting ready for my lesson. He was in a stall next to where I had her in cross ties and just couldn't keep his nose to himself. He kept poking me whenever I was within reach also. Darn kids.

Had a really, really good lesson. I worked on crossing the diagonal with loose reins then picking them up and trotting as I reached the (what in the heck is the outer edge of the arena called? - brain fart)* Anyways, I guess it's part of an actual dressage test. I suppose competing should be in my future but I can't fathom wearing light colored breeches (shudder)

So, since I was doing so well I got to canter at the end. And (and!) I actually kind of did it right. At least I stayed upright. I have a tendency to lean forward like I'm a jockey or something. I'm only allowed to canter on the straight sides of the arena - something to do with a health/structural problem that the mare has.

I moved the mare to a different set of cross ties after the lesson and only had to deal with another mare giving me pitiful looks every time I gave a carrot to my mare. Geez, you'd think those horses were starved to death the way they beg. Not to mention the barn cats following me around (okay, okay, so I keep cat treats in my locker). I just like to hand out goodies and I could probably afford an extra lesson a month with what I spend for carrots. The horses all recognize me. I know it's only because I have food, but still it's kind of neat when they see me coming and run towards me instead of away. I've been asked to not hand feed some of the horses but to drop the carrots on the ground. Well, one of the fillies gets totally ticked off when I do that. She doesn't see me drop it no matter how hard I try so then pins back her ears and gives me a pissy face. But I do as I'm told since they're not my horses and I'm just happy to be trusted to be around them.

*I remembered. It's called the track.

Friday, February 3, 2012

That's What I Thought

What's Wrong With This Coupon?

If I get $5 off every $5 I spend, doesn't that mean I get my entire purchase for whatever amount is less than $5.00? I noted on Head in the Sand that I'm tired this morning - maybe my brain just isn't functioning yet.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I'm currently reading a book called "Animals in Translation." It's written by a woman who is autistic and claims it gives her insight into how animals see things since her mind also processes her world in pictures rather than words. I'm having a little difficulty wrapping my head around why this is different from the rest of us but I'm only about 40 pages in and may understand better as I read further.

A friend of mine is writing her memoir and I'm reading it as she progresses. Magazine Man (who hasn't posted in a long, long time - working on a book?) tells the most marvelous, detailed stories about growing up. My (younger) brother and (older) sister were reminiscing on my last trip to California about events that happened while we were kids. Even though I was there, I cannot remember these incidents at all. I remember very few specifics and some years are gone completely from my memory. This isn't a new occurrence, I've always been this way, but I've just started to really notice it compared to other people. I know I was so glad to wear a uniform to work because I wouldn't have to remember if I'd worn the same outfit earlier in the week. I rarely can tell you how old I am but have to subtract the year I was born from the current date (although I'm becoming more aware as I age - 60 this year!) Writing about my past? fuggidaboutit!

I'm a little curious why this should be and have come up with a hypothesis. I had quite an adversarial relationship with my mother. Something she did her whole life was refer to where she grew up as "home." Home wasn't where she lived now, but everything in her past was good and wonderful. Anyway, I think I grew tired of glorifying the past and something in my brain switched to only registering the here and now.

Keeping this blog has been fun for me because I'll go back and read about something I did and it's like reliving it all over again. I may be adding more mundane stuff for my own benefit, which is the only reason I blog anyway.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Partly Sunny -9° RealFeel® -1°

It's warming up! It's supposed to be in the high teens tomorrow, which is perfect for me. Believe it or not, it actually starts melting when the temperature gets in the 20's, which later turns to ice and is a freaking nightmare.

The indoor arena where I ride is heated. Friday night there was steam rising from the dirt and the black barn cat was sitting eerily in the middle. Would have been a perfect Halloween photo, not that I had a camera along.

The barn owners like to give warm mash when it's really cold so I went in early on Friday to feed it to the horses. It's so neat to hear the horses talk to me when they see me with the bucket. Some of the younger ones get impatient and act out, one actually took a kick at me, but I had been forewarned so stayed out of his way. I just spoke soothingly to him until he settled down enough that I felt safe to go into his stall and retrieve the feed dish. Another mare reached over her door and kept nudging me to hurry up as I was filling hers.

I share a locker with one of the other students and we've had a bit of a conundrum since we both have saddles and there's only one built-in rack. She found a small wooden one on ebay but never got around to assembling it. She brought it to me Friday and my husband put it together yesterday morning and I took it to the barn in the afternoon. It looks like it will work perfectly. I want to find something to raise it off the floor a little as the concrete will get wet once the snow starts melting.

My realtor sent me a new listing this morning. It's a cabin on almost ten acres of land. The only "negative" I see looking at the pictures is that it's not a ranch style. There are quite a few steps leading to the front door. I need to see if the back door has ground level entry. That might work since there is a detached garage. I just hate the thought of walking up slippery steps when my arms are full of groceries, etc.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Random Thoughts

I can't believe this picture is already over a month old. Anyway, Bart is teething and I've got the pictures to prove it.

Lest you think the poor dog has no toys -
There are at least six bones scattered around for his chewing needs. I'm going to get him a rope toy or two as he seems to prefer softer substances, i.e. walls.

The real estate market is really slow at the moment. I keep seeing the same homes for sale. There is no way we're ever going to be able to get a decent house and land in our price range as long as we stay in Alaska. So I started looking at Montana again just for grins. Not a whole lot there either.

I guess the college kid who mucks stalls at the barn is going to take a couple of weeks off as I saw a sign-up sheet yesterday. I would help if it were only a half dozen stalls or so, but there are too many for me to want to tackle.

It's been below zero for over a week now. I'm keeping my bird feeders filled but my heated bird bath/water dish has died. I've got a replacement on order. This year for the first time ever I'm getting pine grosbeaks. The adult males are beautiful and the closest thing to a cardinal in coloration that we're going to get in Alaska. Last year the redpolls did not make an appearance but recently I've seen both them and pine siskins. The Stellar jays are back after about a six week absence. I wonder where they go? My faithful chickadees and nuthatches both seem to enjoy the peanut butter feeder. Last year it was ignored. A woodpecker visits now and then. The magpies are not encouraged but still make an unwelcome appearance. I wish they'd stick to the dumpsters along with the ravens and not scare off my little guys.

The truck registration is due this month and we thought it was exempt from emissions testing because it's a newer vehicle. Turns out the cutoff is six years so since it's an '06, we had to hustle and get that done this week. The emissions program is being phased out, but of course not before our vehicles are due.

My husband turns 62 this year and I'm weighing the pros and cons of his starting to collect social security. I'm dreading 65 and Medicare since so many doctors refuse to accept it. One man told us that his doctor of over 20 years dropped him when he turned 65. My friend is positive her mother died sooner than she needed to because Medicare wouldn't pay for certain treatments and the law wouldn't allow for them to pay out of pocket. That sucks.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Gifts That Keep On Giving (Aggravation)

PEA wrote an entry today about her frustration with customer service which reminded me of my own little ongoing saga. I spent quite a bit of time on the telephone with Amazon two weeks ago in an attempt to return duplicate Christmas gifts. It took quite a bit of explanation to get the concept across to the representative but it seemed like we finally came to an understanding. Unfortunately, she kept e-mailing me return information for the same item, not four different items.

I admit that part of the confusion was that although they were all from the same customer, they had been purchased on three separate occasions so there was some research required. It took several follow-up e-mails after we'd terminated our phone conversation before I finally had the necessary information. Even then they had one of the items to be returned wrong, but I figured since that order number was the same that I could substitute the actual DVD I was returning by crossing out the misinformation and writing in the correct item. I was told that I could not mail said items via USPS but had to use UPS. She assured me that UPS would pick up the returns and provide mailing labels - all I had to do was package them for shipping. Of course there had to be three separate packages, one for each order number. So said packages sat by our front door until this past Monday when I recontacted Amazon to ask what the heck was going on. I also specifically requested an address where I could mail, via USPS, my packages.

Amazon apologized and provided me with UPS mailing labels and tracking numbers (argh!) I noted that they also showed the original purchaser as the return addressee, not me, so who knows where the credit will go? However, lo and behold, Amazon's address was the same where I had returned a DVD that I had purchased. I had actually mailed it the same day I contacted Amazon regarding the others and have already received credit to my account. (So they can be efficient)

Anyway, I re-boxed all four items into one package, used my Click-N-Ship USPS account and had my mailman pick up the package Wednesday. Now I just have to wait and see who, if anyone, gets the credit.

I hope this makes sense. Writing it all out makes it sound more complicated than it actually is/was.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Insert Bad Word Here (with exclamation points!!!!)


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My First Lesson Horse Is Available

Wonderful older horse (approx. 25 yr). We have had him for 15 months. Due to busy schedules he is not getting as much attention as we would like to see him have. Jake was a lesson horse at Huffman Horse Center for some time and when that business closed we took him.

He doesn't move fast and has some arthritis, but would be perfect as a companion for another horse and some light riding. He is approximately 15 hands.

Ideally, we would like a situation where our daughter could visit him and contribute food from time-to-time. We are looking to re-home, not sell. We want to find him a home where he will be well-cared for, has more activity and perhaps another horse or two to be around.

Thank you.

The seller didn't include a picture but I had one in my files:

I only rode him a few times and as I recall he suffered from laminitis. I hope he finds a forever home.