Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vacation Prep

I now have a better understanding of why we never went on very many family vacations. Oh, I got to travel every summer, but with other people's families or with my girl scout troop. Getting ready to go on vacation is a B****. Maybe the prep is what makes vacations so wonderful.

On Tuesday, I am off, without my adorable spouse, to Santa Monica, CA to visit my brother, his wife and my stupendous nephew. Why without my spouse? Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks to choosing to care for so many critters is the inabilty to always find someone who has the same conviction and devotion that you do. And, although he is still doing well, Angus never really adjusts well to me being gone unless Brandt stays home. This uncertainty plays both ways. And his ability to climb the stairs is waning. So, hubby stays home this year.

So, what if anything does this have to do with preparing to depart? Well, I have spent the last two days finishing the laundry; packing; preparing "surprise" people food for Angus in case he doesn't eat for Brandt; catching up on this last week's checks that were written; writing the first of the month checks and mostly straigtening up. (THE CROWD ROARS). But yes, the kitchen counters are clean; the kitchen table is clean and free of papers; the horse equipment and tack are in their appropriate places; the dogs' beds are clean and the horses water trough is cleaner than it has been in weeks. Plus, I rode Luke for a bit this morning and am putting the finishing touches on the lease for our office building in Merced. Every time I think about the stuff I haven't done, I cry.

I know. It will all be here when I return, or it won't. Neither is optimal, nor avoidable. And, then school starts and then Watsonville and it will be the end of July before I get to begin it.

SO, Santa Monica beach life here I come for a few days anyway.

Later. (Yes, I won't forget the camera!!!!!)


Sunday, June 22, 2008

A few photos of Luke and Me

These are a few photos from our Confidence Building Clinic May 31st and June 1. And as you can see in the post below, it was a well worth it weekend. Thanks, Muriel. Photos were taken by Kevin Amey. He is very good. Thanks, Kevin.

Oh, no. I wasn't quite listening to mom's leg again. Here come those nubbie spurs.

Look at us go.

Nap Time.


Yea! It is Great to be Back in the Saddle

Oh Yea!!!!!!!

Luke and I went to our first jumping horse show in 27 months yesterday. (I was way too excited and exhausted to write this yesterday). Oh, and I totally forgot the camera. Sorry.

Our day started out well. We got to the barn to meet Heather at 5:30 am. I gave Luke a quick bath and loaded our gear into her trailer. She didn’t get home from the show the night before until 12:30am so it was a short night for her. She also had Seth with her. They got there about 6:30 and we left at 6:45. Since I-5 southbound is closed until tomorrow, we went surface streets. Made, relatively speaking, good time and entered the show grounds at 7:45. I was on my noble steed at about 8:15. We headed for the warm-up arena.

Now, the rest of this ramble is FULL of Firsts. First time I did this or that on my own. LOTS of major mental accomplishments, which is so stokingly cool. (Is stokingly a word? Yea, it is now). The first FIRST is that Luke has shown at Brookside for years. I never have. I have always gone to watch him and Heather.

The second FIRST: All the shows I have gone to, in all the years I have gone to shows, I have never gotten on my horse (any of my horses) until I got to the warm up arena. Show grounds scare the buggers out of me. Last year, at the Let’s Show Halloween Show, I got on in the warm-up but managed to ride back to the barn. That was a huge milestone. But I digress. Heather, Dana, Amber, Sara (thanks, guys) or someone else has always been on him first. They have warmed him up a bit. (Warm-up arenas are even scarier than the show grounds themselves).

So I, mounted on Luke, head to the warm-up arena. I enter the arena and Heather heads to the show office to get my number. I walk around. BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE. I trot around the arena. The eight and under walk/trot class has begun. I can hear the announcer. I pretend I am in the class. I BREATHE. Check the diagonals. I stretch. Heather returns. We are ready.

Our first class is called. Walk/Trot Pleasure-Open. This class is judged mainly on the horse and “what a pleasure” he is to ride. I am now competing against the previously mentioned eight-year olds and some older youngsters. There are big tents along each side of the arenas for shade for the spectators. There are scary chairs and noises. We enter the ring and because the class has not been called to order I trot in and trot along the long side. I BREATHE. The class is called to order. We walk. We trot. I GET MY DIAGONAL. We are moving beautifully and guess what. Yep! I am BREATHING. Nice loose rein. Ah, this is fun. We are asked to walk. Reverse. Trot. AGAIN, the diagonal is nailed. And as I relax and adjust my leg just slightly, Luke decides, oh let’s canter a few steps. It was only about two and half steps. BUT it was directly in front of the judge. I regain my composure, but not my diagonal and then the announcer commands us to halt. In a Walk/Trot class, when they didn’t have you halt going to the left and then they ask you going right, it usually means someone has been involuntarily dismounted. I am at the far end of the arena near the timorous timbers rustling in the slight breeze on an already hot day. I hear Heather say, “Sit back. Breathe. Here comes a pony.” I hear others saying “whoa” to the pony. Ponies in and of themselves are not frightening, but Luke LOVES ponies and if one is running and playing, he wants to play to. So I turn my head and look for the pony and I begin to say ‘whoa’ too. Luke turns his head and knickers at the pony and the pony finally halts and is apprehended. AND I STAYED ON. The class continues. We line-up in the center. We place fifth out of six; the sixth being the rider of the pony who fell. Hey, you just can’t canter in a walk/trot class, in front of the judge and expect to place well, now can you?

I have Heather get our ribbon as we are in the next class Walk/Trot Equitation. This class is judged on the correctness of the rider and her position on the horse. There are two in the class. Luke is still feeling pretty frisky. So we go around. I miss my diagonal while tracking left, so what else is new? Then, the judge asks for the sitting trot. BREATHE. Go slow Luke. What a good boy. Keep your legs still so he won’t canter. Hands quiet. Good. Nice head. Yea. This is fun. As I near the far end of the arena, where those formidable firs are, a guy a flat bed truck with an empty trailer comes bounding down the road. BUMP, RATTLE. Yes, it unnerved me. I have Luke walk even though we haven’t been asked. A major faux pas, but I don’t care. I am breathing and moving forward. We go back to the trot and then we are asked to walk and line up. Yes, we received a second. We exit the arena on a loose rein. (another first)

There are four additional flat (non-jumping) classes before our two jumping classes. We hang and wait. We are jumping in the Kindergarten Hunters. Trotting is allowed. Normally, in the Hunter Divisions the entire course is cantered. The fences are very elaborate with pretty flowers on each set. There is a red set; a blue set; a gold/yellow set and a purple set. My goal is to trot into each line, canter out and then prior to turning to the next group, resume the trot and repeat. There are seven fences. One single and then six sets of two, also known as a line.

In the first class, the first fence is a single near the judge’s stand moving away from the entrance. Then a left turn to the outside line in five strides, a left turn up the diagonal in four strides and a right turn to the judge’s outside line. A circle and we are done. We were nearly perfect. I remembered to breathe, exhale over the jumps and I even cantered the last four fences. We exit the arena on a loose rein.

The second class is very similar to the first, but somewhat in reverse. The first fence is a single moving away from the entrance, then turn right and go down to the judge’s outside line in five strides, turn right again go up the diagonal line in four and turn left and finish the far side outside line in five strides. I wasn’t as perfect in this round and broke to the trot in the middle of the line. BUT, I remain composed, BREATHED, and resumed cantering the last two fences. I also forgot to complete my ending circle.

We placed second in the first class and fourth in the second class. There were eleven participants in each class.

And, that was our day. Luke is so pleased that I am finally getting the hang of this jumping stuff. Yea! It was a blast. Can’t wait to do it again. Neither can he.

Thanks, Heather.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Photo from Wine and Cheese Weekend

Here is one photo of Luke and I at our weekend at Muriel's.
More photos to follow and there is a riproaring egg race video, but I can't figure out how to download so I can upload to the cross load thing. YES, it is because I refuse to read. So there. I admit it. That's half the problem isn't it?


Concert MEME

Bonnie, my dear SIL, tagged me for the following concert meme. So, I stole her instructions. Verbatim.

Here is how it works. Copy this list. Leave in the bands you've seen perform live. Delete the ones you haven't and add new ones that you have seen until you reach 25. An asterisk means the previous person had it on their list. Two asterisks means the last two people who did this before you had that band on their list. And so on.
Here's the link to hers.

and here are mine. Kind of eclectic. Others may think sic. They are in no special order.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers (4 times)
The Who
Elton John (Twice: once with Billy, once without))
Billy Joel (Twice: once with Elton, once without)
Seals and Croft
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The Eagles (three times, once before they broke up, twice after)
Joe Walsh
Paul McCartney
Rod Stewart (Six times)
Pablo Cruise
Barry Manilow
BB King
Led Zepplin
Frank Zappa
The Rolling Stones
Blood, Sweat and Tears
Huey Lewis and the News
Ringo Starr and his all star band that had lots of “old” dudes
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Twice)
Kenny G

Now, ask me what cd's I listen to, I dare you.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

12 of 12 June

Welcome to Lizard's 12 of 12 for June. If you are new to the idea, check out its architect, Chad Darnell. Alrighty then, it is nearly noon and not a photo taken. And the crowd cheers that there are no commuting photos. (Ah, just you wait, these are all Green Acres in the 21st Century shots.)

The Feed Store that I patronize in Vacaville CA. Our office was across the street (until we moved) and they were very convenient. Their good prices and service keeps me coming back. Picked up dog food for Angus, a bit of scratch for Reuben and a hope your feeling better card for a special somebody who is under the weather. Taken at 4:15pm.

Rufus is getting to be quite the young man. I took this through the gate I was attempting to open at feeding time, but he "won't" back up, so we had a bit of a stand off. Elverta CA 5:30pm.

Reuben standing guard near the barn door. He assists Luke with his dinner. (On a side note, we found his "owner" who said if his happy, you can keep him). How do you tell if a Rooster is happy? Elverta CA 5:30pm.

This is Mikey. He loves to open gates and go for "joy" rides. No better way to meet you neighbors, than to have an escape artist living with you. Here he is waiting for me to come through the gate and just shut, not latch it; hoping to flee. Elverta CA 5:35pm.

Precious watching the gate. "I am not really napping; just trying to trick Mikey. I won't let him escape." Elverta CA

This is Luke and BJ. Patiently waiting for their dinner. But not in their respective places for being served. But they know, until Rufus moves, no one gets fed, so they wait. Elverta CA 5:35pm.

Indiana Jones, Jr. always at the ready to chase a rabbit or a cat. "Where to next, Mom?"

Angus, still hanging in there and still hates the camera. In each of the photos I took of him, he conveniently turned his back end toward me. Yes, he is still wearing the running boot. He goes back for a checkup tomorrow.

Raspberry plants and thanks to this sun, we are actually getting to eat some of the fruit. Something so simple is keeping the birds at bay. Hope it works on the grapes too. Elverta CA 5:40pm

Another local market. They are getting their gas pumps replaced and modernized. Now, instead of driving 10 miles to pay through the nose, I will only have to drive 1.5 miles. It is a nice family-owned business, so it will be great to patronize them again. Elverta/Riego CA 6:15pm.

With the fires raging all around us, and the winds finally dieing down, the smoke lingers. Still it is hard to believe something so destructive could create such beautiful sun sets. Elverta CA 8:10pm

Coming attractions: Next month Luke and I will be at a horse show in Watsonville, CA. So, once again the crowd shoots, "Yea!!!!"


Monday, June 02, 2008

B, BA, BOM, Day Eighteen

Today's grateful entry is related to yesterday's.

I am grateful that missing a day is not so important to the Universe that it stopped because of the techno-weenies.

Because I was going to be gone, I set these up to load automatically. It didn't work.

So, today, I am grateful that I tried something new, it didn't work, and I am not affected by its not working.