Monday, December 30, 2013

Winding Down the Year

My sister has been visiting which compels me to actually do stuff and not sit around reading blogs most of the day. Subsequently I've only managed to read an entry here and there and have lost track of what everyone has been up to.

She and I had a very nice, relaxing Christmas. There's been too much food but that's about par for the course. I keep apologizing to the horse and promising him that I will get back on track after the beginning of the year. I've been working on the sitting trot and actually rode about a 20 meter circle without bouncing. I just love it when I do something right.

I hate arthritis. I got a prescription from my doctor. It helps but I'm still so stiff most of the time. I'm trying to do my walk at home DVD and I also received a yoga DVD for Christmas that I need to stop ignoring.

My brother passed on his old Kindle to me and I'm reading my first book using it. I am so glad that it times out since I tend to fall asleep while reading in bed. It's also neat because it remembers where I stopped reading so I'm not losing my place all the time.

My sister flies home this Saturday but will be moving up to live with me sometime next year. It will be nice to have her here.

I'm sorry to see that some of my favorite bloggers mention that they may quit writing after this year. I will miss reading their thoughts and activities.

I wish everyone health and happiness in 2014 and beyond.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Eating Tips

1. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You cannot find it any other time of year. Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip?

2. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on.

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

4. Chocolate, apple, sweet potato, mincemeat, pumpkin. Have a slice of each. If you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert?

5. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's Day. You can do that in January. Now it's time for circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Welcoming Committee

On my front lawn when I arrived home from the grocery store. I could tell Bart had been barking at them as he was all worked up. Now that I'm home he's not worrying about them any more. Who's the watchdog here anyway?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Lesson Learned

Never use a cotter pin when a bobby pin will do.

Hope everyone's having a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Idle Paws

Winston has been busy digging and shredding plants, despite the ground being frozen.

Who, me? I've been lying here the whole time. Bart must have done it even though he's been inside with you...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

White Whiskers

No, not Santa but the horses at the barn. It was -10 at my house and they said it was -17 at the barn. If it wasn't so dang cold I'd take pictures but I'm afraid the temperature would kill my camera while it sat around waiting for me to finish my lesson. Anyway, all the horses had frozen whiskers and they're getting pretty fuzzy. One of my favorite Haflingers is especially cute. Somebody told me he was mean but I find him very affectionate. He will put his head against my chest and nibble at my shirt while I rub all over his face and neck.

Oh crap, I see the wind is blowing which means it's even colder than what the thermometer is reading. I need to do a few outside chores so guess I'll bundle up extra warm.

Guilt is a great motivator. I would loved to have stayed in my fleece pajamas under my fleece sheets but I have dogs and birds to take care of. That's about the only thing that will get me out of bed on days like this.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Slippery Slope

The title of this post describes my driveway. It took me four attempts to get up it yesterday in a front-wheel drive sedan. I was just going to the bank of mailboxes to mail a bill that was coming due. The mailman hadn't delivered the mail yet and I didn't go back. Now I'm debating whether I should go check the mail before today's delivery just in case the box is full. I could check it a second time for today's when I leave for my riding lesson.

It rained fairly hard on Sunday and turned to snow later that evening. Makes for a lovely ice base.
Today I'm breaking out the 4-wheel drive truck. Enough of the slip and slide nonsense.

I spent hours on the phone yesterday. I love that people are concerned about me but I'm developing cauliflower ear. I ended up putting the phone on speaker and ripping out some cross stitch mistakes I had made when trying to talk and cross stitch at the same time. I can't walk and chew gum so I don't know what made me think I could do both simultaneously.

Every day I try to sort through a few of my husband's things to be either tossed, sold or donated. It seems overwhelming since he never threw anything away. Ladies, don't let your sons grow up to be hoarders. Of course, he would be facing the same dilemma with my crafting supplies had I gone first. We were both pretty clueless about the other's interests. I am not even going to attempt to deal with his tools without the help of friends. First the stuff in the house, then the shop.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


My doctor called me to find out my husband's cause of death. The medical examiner opted not to do an autopsy so, because our doctor is the physician of record, she has to fill out the death certificate. She never examined his body, I'm not a doctor, yet the two of us have to use our best guess for an official document. What a crock.

Now that I've had a chance to settle down I realize I missed the perfect opportunity to have her fill in "Death by Chocolate."

Frosty Morning

It was dark when I got up and I could see stars in the sky. Once it lightened up a little I could see frost. It's always colder when it's clear. We haven't had snow yet and I got to ride outside again yesterday. Looks like darkness is going to drive us back inside before the weather does.

Had an eye exam Monday. I don't know how I manage to always do it but the new frames I picked out are really expensive. How come attractive stuff doesn't come cheap? Their cost put an end to my idea of going shoe shopping. I should start purchasing Christmas gifts and not spend any more on myself anyway.

Have a company coming to put up icicle lights on the house today. Think I'll go redneck and leave them up all year round so I won't have to pay again.

After they're gone I'll probably head to the recycling center and dump. I can't believe how exciting my life is.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


I forgot to say that he is doing great after surgery. He absolutely hates the cone and since he didn't seem to bother his stitches, I'd leave it off most of the time. He only had to wear it overnight or when I left the house. Although he's supposed to wear it for two weeks, I've opted to leave it off the past two nights and he's doing fine. I even think he's a little less snarly with Bart already.

Satellite TV Aggravation

Please tell me if this is a difficult concept. We have Dish Network with DVR capabilities. The main unit is in the family room. The second (remote) works with the television in the shop. I have a standard, non-DVR receiver in the bedroom.

I want to move the second DVR capabilities from the shop to the bedroom and send the standard unit back to Dish. This is going to require a service call. I supposedly had an appointment for the morning of Oct. 23. When no one showed up by 12:30, I called Dish only to be told there was no record for this on my account. That representative told me all I had to do was contact a local satellite provider to make the change. (Teeth gritting commences)

Yesterday I walked into a local satellite store. They claimed they couldn't do this but to contact a different satellite installer. Okay, no problem. I called that installer this morning only to be told that they can't do any work that is not authorized by Dish. So then I called Dish. After a long discourse with the representative he finally seemed to understand what I wanted to do (I'm sure it would help if I knew the correct terminology for things) Somehow I got signed up for a protection package during all of this but it seemingly will reduce the service charge amount. Anyway, he told me to contact yet a third satellite installer to have a technician come out. Of course I got voice mail. My teeth are ground to stubs.

I resolve that if this person cannot do what I want that I'm going to cancel my subscription and switch to Direct TV.

Aside from that I seem to be getting things accomplished. I've arranged to have my driveway plowed and to sell our snow blower and a chain saw on consignment. These are two items that I can't see myself ever using.

I took down most of the screens yesterday to allow more light through the windows. Now I need to vacuum them and store in the shop.

The horse was slightly off on Tuesday so we limited my riding to a walk. Apparently I've been holding my legs in the wrong position all these years and putting too much weight in my stirrups. The whole lesson was spent on correct positioning, some of it without stirrups. Harder than it sounds.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hanging in There

It's been a week since my husband died. I'm doing better than expected. The funeral home called yesterday and said his ashes were ready so I was able to pick them up after running some other errands. As I told his mom, I waited to get him until last because he would have been really ticked off if I'd made him wait in the car.

I am not a morning person and even after I (finally) got up, tended to lounge around in my pj's. I'm having to change my ways since now I'm the one who has to answer the door. The FedEx guy caught me in my pajamas at 10 a.m. last week so now I'm dressing almost upon getting out of bed, which tends to be around 5:00 a.m. these days. I have a repairman coming by sometime today, Dish Network scheduled for a morning appointment tomorrow and have to have Winston to the vet by 8:45 Thursday. Last night was the first night I've actually slept except for Bart deciding to bark around 4:00 this morning. Fortunately, I'm used to him doing that when he sees a stray animal so I didn't freak out that someone was trying to break into the house. I keep telling Winston that he has no idea what I've got in store for him. Hopefully he will be less ornery with Bart after he's neutered. Bart will be next but the little instigator gets fixed first.

I've had tremendous support from friends locally and my ear's about ready to fall off from all the telephone conversations with family and friends from out of state.

I don't make a point of professing my faith here but I know my husband is with the Lord. He was a somewhat unhappy soul and I take comfort in knowing that he now has peace that surpasses all understanding.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Yahoo mail has changed their format and has been giving me fits. I'll adjust eventually but I hate it at the moment.

Today when I went to sign on to my blog I am told that it is now run by Google. Jeez.

The biggest adjustment I am making is that my husband died suddenly on Tuesday. No, I am not making light of this or deeming it less important but I am still in denial. The reality hasn't quite set in so I am acting in my usual light hearted, somewhat snarky, self. Normal programming, such as it was, may or may not return.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Splitting Hairs

Apparently the actor Owen Wilson is going to be a father (again)

While Lindqvist, Wilson's onetime personal trainer, is legally married, "she didn't cheat with Owen," says the source. "Caroline was separated before she got pregnant."

Dude, if she's still legally married, even if separated, it's cheating.

I was also able to locate my earlier postings. I didn't realize that Blogger only recalled 100 per page and that I could access other pages. Duh.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


I just tried to read some of my earliest entries to see how much riding progress I had made in three years. Apparently Blogger only maintains two years of posts as the oldest I could find was September 2011. Boo, hiss.

We watch Pioneer Woman on Food Network every Saturday. A couple of weeks ago she shared a recipe using Pillsbury peanut butter cookie dough and miniature peanut butter cups. Well, that looked like something I could bake but I've been to two grocery stores and neither one had peanut butter refrigerated dough. Guess who's eaten all the PB cups in frustration? Like I needed the calories.

Riding Progress

I showed up early at the barn yesterday so I would have plenty of time to groom, tack and warm up both me and the horse. As with some best laid plans I forgot to factor in that my trainer and I use the same girth so I had to wait until her session was over before I could lay hands on it. She had remembered to put out a second bridle for me as her horse and mine use the same one. Oh well, I think it pissed off the clinician a little bit as she mentioned how I should have warmed up before my session. I reminded her about the girth mishap (old people don't take no crap from nobody!) Subsequently, I came home and ordered my own girth to keep this from happening again. I had a girth for the Belgian mare I used to ride but it is way too big for the gelding. It was one of those things I had been planning to do and yesterday was just incentive enough to get me to actually do it.

My regular trainer rode two of her horses. First her five year old green gelding. She lunged him before tacking him up and then wanted him to cool down. I started walking around the arena and he followed me like a big puppy - he didn't even have a halter on. He is such a sweet guy. I kind of hope that I can stick to riding long enough for him to be a safe mount for me. My husband suggested he was following me because I had carrots in my pocket but that wasn't the case. Of course he may have smelled them from Tuesday but he wasn't nosing my pocket so I don't think that was his motive. She rode one of her dressage warmbloods for her second session. I refer to him as "the big giant head" as he is stalled next to my horse and is always sticking his head over the divider begging for treats. Scares me to death half the time because I'll turn around and practically walk into him. He's nice but way too much horse for me to consider riding at this point.

Anyway, the clinician remembered me from last time and kept asking questions about the stuff we had done. She had a better memory than I did. We mostly worked on getting the horse to bend around my leg at the corners, getting me to post the correct diagonal and my crappy transition from trot to walk. I just need to remember to post slower and not try to sit in the saddle while the horse is still traveling at a fast clip. Once he slows down it's much easier for me to sit deep in the saddle and convert to a walk. At least I apparently now have my leg in the proper position as I didn't get called on it like the last time.

In non-horse news we have signed up for a 30 day free trial of Netflix. Apparently it eats huge gigs of [Internet memory (I think)] so we are going to have to sign up for more, which of course won't be free. We also didn't have the wireless LAN adapter for the TV in the bedroom so ordered one from Samsung. I am trusting their site that the one I ordered is the right one for our TV model. I should find out in a few days as it's already been shipped.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October Already

Nothing of note happening around here lately. I have most of my fall yard work accomplished except for storing four lawn chairs. I tried to replant a peony that had been put in a too shady location. I read that peonies hate to be transplanted but if you had to do it to try to ensure you didn't disturb the roots too much. So I dug a big area around the peony and when I went to lift it by the base of the plant, it broke off in my hand. Okie doke, I didn't mean for that to happen. I wonder if the plant will come back in its old location next year or if I just killed it.

I harvested the potatoes and got a good amount - more than we need since a 5 pound bag usually sprouts before we eat them all. I took about half of them to my trainer yesterday. I had two plastic shoe boxes full of duck pellets from when the wild ducks used to visit my yard every day. One of my trainers other students has ducks and geese so I took those to the barn for her. Slowly but surely I'm getting rid of stuff I don't need. Now I should list some Christmas items on eBay and get those out of the house.

My riding lessons have been going great. I'm trotting a lot more and becoming more successful at keeping the horse rounded. Yesterday I assumed more of a dressage position than the hunter/jumper stance I'd been using. I'm using my legs more and my stirrups less as I post. On the not so great side, I need someone to push my right leg over the horse as I mount (stupid arthritis) I'm trying to do warm-up exercises to make me stronger and more flexible. Usually dismounting isn't too much of a problem as everything seems to ease up as I ride. Sometimes I still drag my foot across the horse's rear but most of the time I can clear it.

Oh, we worked on visualization yesterday. I am fairly incompetent at going from a trot to a walk and my trainer said to just think "walk" and the horse immediately slowed down. I was impressed. I wish I could afford to ride three times a week. I think I'd make faster progress and it would be good for my overall health. I don't get much physical activity in the winter since gardening's not an option. We have most of the repairs done around the house so maybe I could swing it...

I'm riding with a clinician next Friday and Sue Kolstad is also supposed to be here this month. I'm probably wasting their time since I don't plan to ever compete but I get a lot out of our sessions.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Moderate Osteoarthritis

The doctor called yesterday with the above result of my hip x-ray. For the time being I'm just supposed to keep exercising, take joint supplements and use anti-inflammatories as needed. Losing weight is also recommended (of course it is) If the condition hasn't improved in about three months we'll look at other options. Hip joint injections require more than a regular office visit and if it gets really bad, there's always hip replacement (I feel so old now)

I have researched a lot of web sites for recommendations. One man claims krill supplements worked for him when fish oil didn't, so I'll try that when my current fish oil supply runs out. Another person actually listed the supplements they take and claim that they've been pain-free for over twenty years while all their relatives are suffering from arthritis. Something to consider.

Had lunch with former co-workers in Anchorage yesterday. Went to Costco since I was in town and purchased some merino wool socks as I can't seem to find them anyplace else. I doubt that the $75 annual membership is worth it just for socks so I grabbed a pair of winter gloves too. We thought we'd probably make a monthly trip to Costco once we moved out here but that hasn't been the case. I wouldn't even have kept our membership current except that they automatically charge it to the American Express card.

I will have a riding lesson later today unless I hear otherwise from my trainer. I foresee pony carts in my future...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ruminations (yeah, like a cow)

One of the blogs I read made mention of how fall is depressing for many people. This surprised me as I usually hear how autumn is so many people's favorite season. I had always understood the winter holidays were the hardest to cope with.

When we moved here last year I just stashed stuff without really taking note of what went where. Consequently I can't lay my hands on an item without significantly searching. This week I rearranged my junk room. I still don't know where anything is but it looks better and I have more floor space. Baby steps.

Speaking of babies, my friend sent me photos of her grandkids yesterday. One is of the little girl I used to babysit posed on a pony at the fair. My immediate reaction should have been, "Aw!" Instead it was, "Get that child to straighten her leg and put her heels down." Um, no.

I had a fantastic riding lesson last Tuesday and really felt like I was making progress in using my legs when I post instead of putting most of my weight in the stirrups. Of course the horse had to slip in the pasture later in the week which canceled my Friday lesson. I took him for a walk yesterday to keep him from stiffening up too much. The week before I was able to ride him three times as my trainer was out of state and said I could practice while she was gone.

I think I've mentioned how my left leg bothers me. I went to a chiropractor in July which didn't make any significant difference. Friday I saw my regular doctor and she ordered x-rays of my hip. I'll find out the results in the next day or two. I hope it is something that can be dealt with and not a chronic condition that I'm just going to have to learn to live with. It's getting to the point that I can't mount the horse without assistance, which is just embarrassing.

Oh, one of my friends is taking a literature class and sent me a copy of a poem by Alexander Pope. I think she'd like to discuss it with me which means I'm going to have to try and comprehend it. My head hurts from having to think.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Caught Up (I think)

I was not able to keep up reading all the blogs I subscribe to for over two weeks. I have spent my spare time the past four days scrolling down and reading what I've missed. I think I'm current on everyone's posts.

I've had visitors which is why I wasn't being my usual slothful self. My brother came for 10 days and before that I had a friend drive in from Anchorage. She hadn't seen our house yet so I felt compelled to clean it top to bottom. I just wish it would stay clean longer than a couple of days. Yesterday I had dog hair bunnies up to my ankles - I've since vacuumed.

I've only managed to ride once a week most of August. The horse has shows to attend and one Tuesday there was a clinic being held at the barn that was using the only dry arena. All the others were too wet to be useable. I did get a session with a new-to-me clinician that was pretty fabulous. For some reason everything clicked and I was actually riding the horse as opposed to just sitting on it. Another way of putting it is that I was able to "make" the horse do what I wanted instead of "asking" it. It's taken me three years to build up enough confidence to do this. My regular trainer asked if I'd been abducted by aliens as I was so improved on Tuesday.

The final hunter/jumper show of the year is this weekend. I doubt that I'll attend as it is held at the fairgrounds. This will also be the last weekend of the state fair and I just don't feel like having to pay both parking and fair admission to get onto the grounds. On the plus side perhaps I can start getting in two lessons a week again.

It doesn't look like I'll be able to visit family in California this year. I've got enough mileage for a ticket but no fun money. Just for my own edification we've fenced the back yard, installed a new water pump and filter system, will have the rain gutters installed properly, fix leaks on the shop roof and pave graveled portions of the driveway. We also may have a roof built over the back porch.

Next year I'd like to have the gazebo screened in. It's always something. My brother said he may put my parents' home on the market next year which would give all of us some extra income. Other than that I may have to get a job.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Product Review

When we moved into this house all the walls were freshly painted and any nail holes had been filled in. I thought it would be a good idea to use Command wall hangers that don't leave any marks. I followed the instructions, cleaning the wall with alcohol, allowing the hanger sufficient time to adhere properly, etc. So far I've replaced the glass in two pictures that have crashed to the floor, have a chipped decorative plate and a wall clock that is miraculously still running after falling to the floor. Needless to say I have made sure all my other wall hangings are mounted with nails.

Forgot to mention in my last post that I rode with Sue Kolstad again. Here is a woman who has excelled at horsemanship, is a judge and I'm sure has all kinds of other credentials. She is totally approachable and fun to work with. She's coming back in October and I will gladly sign up for another clinic.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Time Really Does Fly

I was going to write an entry about the last horse show right after attending it and obviously didn't. I discovered Wasilla has a different weather system than Anchorage. It was beautiful at home and I debated whether I should take a jacket or not. Decided on a windbreaker and headed out. Ran into torrential rain on the highway, hard enough that I needed to use the constant on windshield wipers instead of intermittent. Still raining, although not quite as hard, when I reached the horse show grounds. Soon I was soaked to the skin even though I had an umbrella as it's hard to handle horses with one in your hand. Later in the day the sun came out and I even got sunburned. Wasilla had stayed sunny all day. Anyway, the horse show was fun despite the weather and my trainer and her student left with a handful of blue and red ribbons. I just got a cold. I don't care what science says about germs; I believe it was due to getting drenched.

I'm so, so happy to report that we finally have decent water pressure. The company thought we wanted a 1,000 gallon holding tank so it was on order. We decided 500 gallons would be sufficient and they had those in stock. Decent water pressure is one of those things you take for granted until you don't have it. What a difference.

Haven't been able to ride this past week as the horse was "off" on Tuesday. There is another dressage show this weekend so trainer wasn't available Friday. I think I'll be able to ride this coming Tuesday but there's a hunter jumper show next week so the horse will probably be entered there. Oh well, saves me a few bucks. I've managed to avoid going to the dressage show but may drive into Anchorage tomorrow.

Moose have completely decimated my broccoli and cauliflower and last night ate most of my decorative cabbages. It also has stomped on several of my perennials. I guess I should be grateful it hasn't eaten them but gosh darn it.

I ended up buying a couple more perennials and some annuals which I planted yesterday. Have spent most of the week weeding and actually got landscape cloth and mulch surrounding one of the lilacs I planted a while back. Looks so much nicer than being surrounded by weeds. I located a peony that the previous owner had planted. It is practically hidden by shrubs so I'm going to relocate it this fall. I know peonies hate being moved but it's never going to bloom where it's at. I'm wondering how I'm supposed to keep straw on the plants that need mulching for over-wintering with the high winds we get.

I have picked two big bowls full of strawberries and now the raspberries are ripening. I can't believe I'm sick of strawberries but I've reached my limit.

Friday, July 19, 2013

No Riding for Me

The horse I ride is being spiffed up for a horse show tomorrow so he's off limits to me today. I probably could go help out but there's enough work here on the old homestead to keep me busy. Last Friday my trainer was unavailable but she told me to go ride him anyway, which I did. I carried my whip to let him know I was serious and not to try any guff with me. It worked, even though I never summoned up enough courage to go faster than a walk.

I finally got around to arranging our cold storage area so that we can walk in without tripping over stuff. Hopefully I left enough room to store the lawn chairs this fall. Fortunately, once it gets cold we don't need access in there again till spring so it can be a bit more cluttered.

I have five large hanging baskets. I can water them using a long wand but deadheading and fertilizing with a watering can requires a ladder. I bought what I thought was a nifty pulley system to raise and lower them. Of course the darn things don't work. They either extend their full length and won't raise back up or, my personal favorite, won't extend at all. I wasted a lot of time fooling around with them yesterday. Oh well, growing season is only about six more weeks.

I finally got all my perennials in the ground and have resolved not to buy any more until next year. They need a while to get established and the aforementioned six weeks may not be long enough to make them strong enough to suffer an Alaskan winter.

I think I've mentioned how we have practically no water pressure. A guy came out a couple of months ago and gave us an estimate for some kind of system involving a holding tank and a bigger pump. I got the funds together to pay for this but he seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. We've left four or five messages with no response. I really, really want to get this problem resolved. I'm going to call the company again today. "Hey, I want to throw tons of money your way. Doesn't that deserve some sort of acknowledgment?"

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Horse 1, Me 1

I think I mentioned that I got dumped in the dirt a few weeks ago when the horse shied. Well, he did it again Tuesday but this time I stayed on! Admittedly, it was a much smaller spook, but still...

So, I am now seeing a chiropractor. My left leg has been giving me a lot of grief and it is sometimes damn near impossible for me to mount the horse (I hate it when that happens) Turns out my left leg is longer than my right leg. I have a small lift to put in my right shoe and we'll see if that helps. I had a CD with an MRI of my spine taken seven years ago which I took to my last visit. He asked me if anyone had ever mentioned that I have curvature of the spine. I recall a school nurse had mentioned it when I was 14, but that was a long (LONG) time ago. So I'm going for adjustments a couple of times a week. I hope it makes a significant difference eventually (so far, not so much)

Still gardening. I had some plants for ground cover that I bought back in May. Our original use for them has altered so yesterday I finally put them in the ground around some perennials. Poor little plugs were so root bound that it will be a miracle if they survive. I only have three perennials left to plant so I may stop by the nursery after my chiro visit today.

Sue Kolstad is coming back to Alaska later this month so I'll probably take at least one clinic with her. After all, she needs a little comic relief amongst all those serious dressage riders. Unfortunately, I still haven't mastered posting without stirrups as she mandated. My trainer insists I'll be able to do it eventually. Uh huh.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sticks and Stones

Just weighing in on the Paula Deen kerfuffle. I think the Food Network is over-reacting by firing her for a racial slur admittedly used years ago. Paula's about my age and I'm sorry, young'uns, but language such as this used to be somewhat common.

Polite? Never. Derogatory? Depended on the situation. Hurtful? I'm not Black but it is a term they use on each other. Does who says it really make a difference?

I think the crowd should not be allowed to sing Dixie at the Kentucky Derby. After all, it references returning to a time and place when slavery was accepted:

"The song originated in the blackface minstrel shows of the 1850s and quickly grew famous across the United States. Its lyrics, written in a comic, exaggerated version of African American Vernacular English, tell the story of a freed black slave pining for the plantation of his birth. During the American Civil War, "Dixie" was adopted as a de facto anthem of the Confederacy. New versions appeared at this time that more explicitly tied the song to the events of the Civil War. Since the advent of the North American Civil Rights Movement, many have identified the lyrics of the song with the iconography and ideology of the Old South. Today, "Dixie" is sometimes considered offensive, and its critics link the act of singing it to sympathy for the concept of slavery in the American South. Its supporters, on the other hand, view it as a legitimate aspect of Southern culture and heritage and the campaigns against it as political correctness. The song was a favorite of President Abraham Lincoln- he had it played at some of his political rallies and at the announcement of General Robert E. Lee's surrender."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Time Flies

I've been staying very busy in a mundane way. We have just over an acre of land and a lot of it has been divided into garden beds that need maintenance. It took me two afternoons just to prune the dead branches off the rose bushes next to the driveway. I've planted quite a few perennials and annuals so watering takes about 90 minutes. I single-handedly pruned the branches off and dug up the roots of a dead Canadian hemlock. I planted a lilac in its place and another lilac in a different bed. I've only got about 1/3 of the dead canes cut from the raspberries and I'm afraid the grass has won the battle in the strawberry patch. Lots of blossoms, however, so I think we'll get berries. I'm not a vegetable gardener but our next door neighbors gave us broccoli, cauliflower and potatoes so I felt obligated to plant them. I also scattered some carrot seeds and zinnia seeds that came with a pair of Playtex gloves. One of my hollyhocks is blooming, even though it's only about six inches tall and my sweet peas seem to be doing well.

The mosquitos are fierce and congregate by the back door where the dogs go in and out and sneak into the house when the door is opened. I went to eight different stores in town on Thursday trying to find one of those electric bug zappers. A nice sales lady told me she had one that worked great in Colorado but our long daylight hours make it kind of ineffectual in Alaska. She suggested getting a model that also has some kind of odor attractant so I went home and ordered one from Amazon. It should arrive Tuesday. Die suckers, die!

My riding lessons have been going well. "My" horse was entered in a three day jumping show last weekend so I rode Thursday morning instead of Friday afternoon. I know darn well he is leery of the far side of the arena so I avoid riding there. For some reason I was feeling confident so I started long reining him over there. He spooked right and I fell off left. The base of my spine is still a little tender.

He had Tuesday off since he'd been jumped quite a bit plus participated in a clinic on Monday. I was headed to the barn Friday when out of nowhere a mallard hen and her tiny ducklings appeared in front of me on the road. I slammed on my brakes (fortunately no one was behind me) and they proceeded to start to cross. Then a big truck traveling the opposite direction threw them in a tizzy and they scattered every which way. I just sat there until I saw them off to the side of the road. I didn't see any roadkill on my way home so hopefully either they made it to the other side or gave up trying.

Heard Joan Baez singing, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down the other day and it has been running through my head ever since. Move on Virgil; I'm tired of hearing your name.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ignore Previous Entry

Spring/summer has arrived with a vengeance. We went from naked trees to buds to full-blown leaves in about a two day period.

I didn't get to ride last week. My trainer wasn't going to be available on Tuesday but told me I could go ahead and ride if I wanted to. When I got to the barn the horse seemed lethargic and not his usual cheery self. I turned him loose in an arena and instead of rolling, he laid down for about 5-10 minutes. He never does that. He also turned down carrots so I knew he wasn't up to par. I gave him a good grooming and put him away after calling his owner to let her know what was up. Turns out he was running a temperature and at one point she thought she might not be bringing him home from the vet's. They think he picked up a ground contaminate from wild geese that had landed in the pastures. Anyway, he got meds and this week seems back to normal.

I spent Saturday and Sunday at the hunter/jumper horse show. It was fun but I decided to stay home Monday and start working on potting up plants and weeding. Yesterday I had just finished zippering up my half chaps when my trainer called to ask if she could move me from 2:00 until 4:00 as she'd had a flat tire that needed fixing. No problem. I just changed out of my riding clothes back into jeans and worked in the yard. Just as I was stepping out the door for the later lesson my trainer called to say she was running about 20 minutes late. Okie dokie, I'll give the horse an extra good grooming.

So, I get to the barn, let the horse loose and start to gather up tack. His bridle is missing. I knew she'd used it on a different horse at the show Sunday so I called her to let her know. She told me to look in her trailer as it must have gotten left in there. I couldn't find it. I decided to go ahead and groom the horse, saddle him and walk him around in his halter. Did I mention it was uncomfortably warm during all of this? 4:30 rolls around - still no trainer. I am dying from the heat so I untack the horse, put him away and go find a shady spot to wait for her. When she finally showed (after 5:00) I told her I still hadn't found the bridle so we both go to the trailer. Turns out it got put in a cubby on the opposite side of the trailer than the main tack area I had been looking in.

She had already postponed her next lesson to make time for mine so I got the horse ready, mounted and proceeded to have a lesson in the scorching heat. I think my brain was fried. I couldn't seem to remember how to do anything, although apparently the horse was covering for me as she kept saying how well I was doing. Maybe muscle memory? I know I didn't consciously do anything. There was another woman in the arena so I tried to stay to one side. She kept wandering into "my" area and I kept having to detour to avoid bumping into her horse. Anyway, did I mention it was hot? I don't think the horse liked it either because my trainer asked if there were bugs around his ears or if he was just twitching them in irritation? Unfortunately, it was the latter. When the other woman left the arena with her horse, mine did a little crow hop - I didn't fall off! He apparently thought that if the other horse was getting to leave he should be able to get me off his back also. Little did he know that there was another rider waiting in the wings for him.

I drove into Anchorage to have lunch with a friend today and then worked in the yard some more. As usual, I've purchased too many plants so am over planting all my containers. My hanging baskets won't be ready for pick up until next Wednesday. The nursery had told me to call three or four days in advance but they got slammed all at once due to the late spring and are taking longer than usual to accommodate all their customers. I plan to work in the yard all day tomorrow, ride Friday and then attend dressage shows in Anchorage this weekend.

What ever happened to the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Record Setting Snowfall

Ah yes, another first; snow starting yesterday and continuing today. Normally, Memorial Day is our big weekend for putting out plants. Last Saturday was warm, I had the windows open and was contemplating taking advantage of some coupons I had for a local nursery. It wasn't getting below freezing at night and surely I could safely start hardening off the tender young plants. The one thing that stopped me was that supposedly it is safe to plant once the leaves on the birch trees are as big as a squirrel's ear. I haven't even seen a glimpse of green yet. Then the temperature kept getting lower and I decided not to risk spending money on something just to have it killed off by frost. The forecast called for snow later in the week and darned if they weren't right for once. I did see several robins earlier in the day when it was still raining. I bet they're ready to fly south again.

I had switched over to my summer riding boots and my feet were cold yesterday for the first time ever, despite having on wool socks. On the positive side, the lesson was great and I got some extra riding time since the person who normally rides after me had canceled. My trainer put the horse on a lunge line and had me practice sitting trot both with and without stirrups. Surprisingly, I do better without stirrups; I think because I sit deeper in the saddle.

The first show of the season is supposed to be next weekend. Several events to be held over both this and last weekend have been canceled because the arenas aren't dry yet - one is being used by geese which should give you an idea of how wet it is. Good times...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Don't Fruit the Beer!

I just saw a commercial for a canned margarita made with beer. Come on, Budweiser. Don't stoop to this.

Monday, April 29, 2013

I Survived

I rode five days in a row last week. The clinician was great, however, she really wanted me to work on posting correctly and boy, did my legs feel it. I use my stirrups too much when I should be using the muscles in my thighs, so got to post without stirrups. I am to practice without stirrups in incremental steps until I can ride all the way around the arena. Um, yeah, we'll see. Fortunately, my regular trainer took pity on me for my two lessons with her and let me stay at a walk and work on collection, side passes and such. I did ride for about an extra half hour on Friday and felt great that evening. Saturday, not so much.

One of the other barns out here is holding a driving clinic in May. I thought I would go and watch for fun but another woman said she had a pony I could use to actually take a lesson with. I figure I can take up driving once I'm too feeble to get on the back of a horse. That day may be sooner than later.

Found another deal on Craigslist. A patio table, six chairs, two lounge chairs and a side table for $150. Not that I ever sit outside due to mosquitos but my husband thought we needed a new set. He will sit outside and smoke cigars which apparently keeps pests away (I know I won't come near) I wrote how the glass table top to our old set got shattered during a wind storm last fall. He wants to put in a plywood sheet and have me tile over it. Meanwhile, I'm looking for a replacement glass place...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Busy Week Ahead

Not that busy compared to when I held down a job, but more activity than is usual nowadays. I am going to ride five days in a row. I know lots of people ride several horses every day but this will be a first for me. I'm riding with a visiting clinician on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and decided to go ahead and have my regular riding lessons on Tuesday and Friday. Hope my old body is up for the challenge.

I noticed a corner of my pillowcase was soaking wet this morning with holes chewed in it. This particular set of sheets came with four pillowcases and I only use two. I had wondered what I'd do with the others, but am now glad that I've got them. Thanks Winston.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

No Hands, Revisited

Bailed on Tuesday's lesson. I had a throbbing headache and my husband had the flu or something. Although it had stopped snowing (finally) the driveway hadn't been plowed because he was feeling so poorly. I felt better later in the day and decided to go grocery shopping. Four-wheel drive gets me where I want to go. I had also sold three items on eBay and had to go to the post office both Tuesday and Wednesday to mail the merchandise.

Poor guy was ill and didn't get around to plowing until Thursday. He usually plows a couple of the neighbors also but they had to fend for themselves.

When I showed up for my lesson yesterday I told my trainer that we'd better start working on trotting in case I had to trot four days in a row at the clinic later this month. She agreed and said she'd told last Saturday's clinician that I hadn't been trotting but apparently she'd forgotten (or was a masochist) She even reiterated this fact when she entered the arena and saw me careening around on her horse.

So yesterday's lesson was pretty much all trot work. Near the end she put a lunge line on the horse and had me work on both sitting trot and posting trot with my hands on my hips. She decided that my saddle is part of the problem with my legs tending to get out of position so we are going to try a riser pad next lesson. I've used them in the past and found they put me in an uncomfortable position. With my luck, that position is most likely the correct way to sit a horse.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My Front Yard

It's been snowing almost non-stop since yesterday. That was almost noteworthy enough to photograph and the moose in the front yard today clinched it.

I drove to Anchorage Friday and took a lesson at my old barn. Yesterday I had a session with an out of town clinician. I hadn't trotted in months and then two days in a row have practically crippled me. Obviously I'm going to need to start working trotting into my lessons so I don't completely fall apart at a four day clinic later this month.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Yesterday I worked on getting the horse to stop and then not creep. It's a lot harder than one would think. I have to remember to grip with my thighs, sit deep in the saddle, check with the reins and I'm allowed to cheat and say "whoa" or "ho" but "ho" makes me laugh. There's nothing like a 60 year old woman with the maturity level of a 14 year old boy. Sometimes when I'm doing everything correctly and the horse is still ignoring me, the trainer will get on and fine-tune him. I'm just too afraid of doing something wrong to be as assertive as I sometimes need to be. Once she's convinced him that he can do what is being requested of him, I get back in the saddle and things generally progress nicely from there. The extra thigh pressure is so minute that it's almost imperceptible. I also have to remember to not keep hauling back on the reins, but release almost immediately. It's just all so nit-picky and I absolutely love it!

I will be attending a couple of clinics in April. I think I will limit myself to just one session with the first clinician since I already signed up for all four days with the second one. These clinics gave me an excuse to order some new breeches and a white saddle pad. I'm holding off on getting a new helmet but mine will be three years old in July so I'm thinking I may be due for a new one.

The horses are shedding despite the fact it was below zero last night and we had a bunch of snow earlier in the week. I'm furminating and using "Slick N Easy" in addition to the regular currying and brushing. In gratitude, the horse stepped on my foot yesterday.

I don't think anything is broken but that fourth toe sure doesn't feel too good today.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Hope This Works

Click Here

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jury Duty

IF YOU'VE EVER BEEN CALLED FOR JURY DUTY.....THEN YOU HAVE TO KNOW THIS IS PRICELESS! Enjoy a good laugh! These are from a book called: "Disorder in the American Courts," and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, "isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?"
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year- old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He's twenty, much like your IQ.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you kidding me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about 20, medium height, and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.
______________________________ _______
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And, Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?
And the best for last:
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

That Was The Week That Was

Super Bowl Sunday - Husband drives into Anchorage to watch the game with his buddies. Some things are enjoyed more in a group atmosphere, or at least with one other person feigning interest which I didn't feel like doing.
I decide to hang some pictures. I had purchased a lot of 3M hangers so as not to have to hammer nails into the walls. I measure where I want the pictures, clean the area with alcohol, let it dry, apply the hangers and let them sit for over an hour before hanging the actual pictures. Less than five minutes after placing the pictures on the wall I am sweeping up shards of glass from where the pictures crashed to the floor. Fortunately, I had only hung two.
Approximately 9:30 my husband calls to say he is about to head home from Anchorage so I can expect him in about an hour. About 90 minutes later he arrives home. The truck had slid off the highway on black ice into a ditch and he was unable to get it unstuck. A nice man who had seen the accident gave him a ride home. (If I was Rising Rainbow I'd stop writing at this point to pique your curiosity. But I'm not and I only can write when I'm in the mood so I shall continue on)

Monday - We call a tow truck to meet us at the accident location and head out in our other vehicle to retrieve the truck. Truck is nowhere to be found. We drive up and down the highway about four times and neither we nor the tow truck driver can locate it. We return home and I call the police department to file a stolen vehicle report. First I call the Anchorage Police Department and am told that I have to file a report with Wasilla State Troopers since that is where the vehicle resides. Anchorage gives me a now out of order phone number for said State Troopers. I finally find the right number, call, and am told that no, the State Troopers will not take a report because the accident/theft occurred in Anchorage Police Department's jurisdiction. So, I call back APD, get the same story, tell the Trooper's side and the clerk said she will check with her supervisor. Sure enough, Anchorage takes a stolen vehicle report.

I still needed to do my weekly grocery shopping and was able to drop off the broken pictures at a frame shop that is on the way. Miracle of miracles it costs less that sixty bucks to have the glass replaced plus the owner said they'd be ready the next day. One picture received a tiny scratch from the broken glass but nothing I can't live with.

Tuesday - 3:30 a.m. the phone rings. The police have located our truck (right where it was supposed to be) Can we be there in twenty minutes? Um, no; so they will haul it to an impound yard. Later that day when we're actually awake I call and cancel my riding lesson. We could have driven into Anchorage afterwards but I didn't feel like dealing with rush hour traffic. I get a second call from the police to make sure we'd been notified that the truck was located. Since I'm somewhat more coherent I ask if the dispatcher can tell me how it was discovered when we hadn't been able to find it. It turns out that an officer had stopped a hitchhiker (it's illegal to hitchhike on the highway) and the hitchhiker told him about the truck in the ditch. Apparently it was far enough down that it couldn't be seen from a vehicle on the roadway. So off we head to Anchorage to get our truck out of jail.

Since the impound lot was somewhat close to my old barn I dropped in to visit everyone. My friend was riding "my" mare so wasn't troubled when I started whining about her riding "my horse." My former trainer just laughed.

So, back before we left Wasilla I had e-mailed a woman about a brass bed I saw for sale on Craigslist. I figured we might as well look at it since we were going to be in Anchorage anyway. She called, we arranged to meet and I was able to purchase a queen sized brass bed frame, with rails, for only $50.00. Kind of made the truck debacle worth it. Of course the bed frame wouldn't fit in the truck bed so we had to disassemble it. So now it's in our shed and we'll get it set up one of these days.

That's basically the highlights of the week. I got my pictures back and managed to ride a horse yesterday. I snagged a locker at the barn so I won't have to haul all my riding gear back and forth. Target had everything I was looking for when I shopped there. It looks like a charity will take my old, chewed up by the dogs, furniture.

Some weeks start out bad and turn into really good ones after all.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Catching Up

I don't seem to be able to read all the blogs I subscribe to on a daily basis any more. Either I'm subscribing to too many or you guys are just writing a lot more. Actually I think the culprit is lack of time. Anyway, I did read for hours yesterday and at least got this past week caught up.

I usually ride on Tuesday and Friday afternoons but my trainer asked me to ride Saturday morning instead of Friday. No problem and I was actually kind of relieved because I'd twinged my back shoveling snow the day before and could use an extra day off. Then I had an insane idea of calling the Anchorage barn and seeing if I could ride with my old Friday night group. Then I came to my senses so didn't follow through.

There was a lovely man in the arena with his two geriatric horses when I arrived yesterday morning. I asked if it would be okay to bring "my" horse in with them and he said no, but he'd move his back to their stalls. His horses were very friendly and kept nosing my pockets for treats. They're on strict diets so no goodies for them.

The arena had not been sprinkled so was extremely dusty. My trainer watered a path that I stayed on for my lesson. My horse had his teeth floated on Thursday and any resistance to rounding his neck seemed to have been cured by that. I'd like to say its because I'm better at requesting it but I really don't think I can take any credit.

After the lesson my trainer said she needed to leave for an appointment but that I could ride for a couple more hours if I wanted to. I only rode for a little while longer because, truth be told, I inherited the "what if something bad happens" gene from my mother. There didn't seem to be anybody around and had I been thrown I probably would be on my own. Not that this horse acts up or anything, it's just the "shit happens," especially around large animals. Thus, I had most of the afternoon to myself for blog reading once I got home.

Our house in Anchorage finally rented and the family is moving in this weekend. We are driving in tomorrow to finish emptying out the garage and get a new washer and dryer installed (Are we lazy or what?)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January Doldrums

It is almost 40 degrees and raining today which turns the ground into an ice slick. Our sloped driveway looks like a challenge that I don't want to attempt surmounting. I watched our neighbor back his truck up their driveway and scatter sand or ice melt. Glad I don't need to leave the house today.

This is a dreary time of year with not much going on. I'm glad I have riding lessons twice a week that get me out and moving. Friday's lesson was fantastic and I feel like I'm really starting to ask for and get leg yields from the horse. He also stayed round for the majority of the lesson. It's so gratifying to hear my trainer say, "Yeeeesss" when I get it right.

Now that the holidays are over I need to start organizing my stuff. Everything's here and stashed but I don't know where. My objective during the actual move was just to get stuff put away and out of sight. I'm used to knowing where a particular item is located. Right now I have to search and a lot of times fail to find what I'm after. I suppose I'll need to pull everything out and start from scratch. I can't imagine why I'm not more enthusiastic about this plan.