Weekend Project: Cleaning out the Storage

The weekend kicked off with Italian food at a local chain, Mandola’s. I hadn’t realized it was a similar set up to La Madeleine, where you wait in line to order and get a number. The restaurant was very family-oriented, too. I can recommend the food, but not the atmosphere if you prefer a more adult-friendly environment. The gelato was worth the effort, though.

Eli standing there all pathetic while awesome forelock horse is like, where is my person?

I also had a good lesson on Saturday morning (dare I say I am finally getting the hang of the hunter ride?). And I rode another horse for a working student who is out of town. He has quite the personality under saddle, and I think he should totally donate some of his forelock to Eli.

This is after removal of a dozen or so boxes

But on to the focus of the weekend: cleaning out the storage unit. De-stuffing. I have more kitchen stuff than I know what to do with in storage, although a lot of it will replace some older kitchen stuff and that stuff will be given to another family member or Goodwill. I also have a ton of office stuff and horse stuff that I will have to go through. My plan with the horse stuff is to take it to the barn and let the trainers and boarders pick through it, sell whatever’s left over, and keep a few items tucked away at my house somewhere. I also might try to sell my old Bruno Delgrange saddle in AS-IS condition for next to nothing, as I doubt I will ever get around to replacing the seat and panels. The tree is sound, at least.

I know I have a ton of strap goods in storage, some saddle pads … petal bell boots, a few blankets … halters with nameplates I might keep, lead ropes, tack hooks, stretchy cross-ties … I also found some 1″ POW spurs that I can’t imagine I’d ever need for Eli. I won some Millbrook spur covers in an IG contest though! Had to call in reinforcements (I.e., Amanda) trying to figure out how to get them on …

In storage, I have an actual stereo with actual speakers, too, and I have no idea what to do with that, other than give it away. Do people even have stereo systems any more?

Missed It Monday

I had plans to ride Eli last night … until a dump truck spilled its load across I-35 … right at the exit I take to get to the barn …

While this is beyond my control, it does not alleviate the guilt I feel when I can’t get out to see Eli, whether to ride or not. I get sucked into the rabbit hole of anthropomorphism, literally worrying that Eli will worry that I won’t come back. He nickers loudly at me every time I walk in the barn in the evenings, fully expecting me to pull him out of his stall as soon as he sees me. Which I usually do. And so I think he must feel disappointed if I don’t show up … which is actually really vain and idiotic, but I am human and humans are vain and idiotic.

Probably enjoyed his day off

I also have this same experience with Conrad, as I leave for work every day.

How do I explain he gets his favorite treats because I pay for them?

All I can do is reassure them both I am going to keep showing up! Perhaps they understand.

High Winds

Eli schooled lightly but very well over fences on Friday evening. As it turned out, it was a good thing I jumped him then, because Saturday, while sunny and bright, was too windy to jump anything. I had trouble just trying to trot. We had sustained winds out of the north at 25-30mph with gusts to 50mph and greater. Eli and I wound up just strolling around in the wildflowers at a walk. He never seems to mind wind, although on Saturday he did have a bit of a snorting fit when we first started walking around, but with that much wind and dust and dry air I can hardly blame him for it.

portrait from patentlybay on Vimeo.

Sunday was a much nicer day and I spent the day working outside until 5 or so, then drove out to get Eli some grazing time.

The weekend was not a total waste — a good friend was in town on business and we went to Lamberts Sunday night. If you ever visit Austin, I definitely recommend checking out Lamberts–as long as you like meat. Don’t bother going if you don’t eat meat, though. I don’t think there would much on the menu for you.

And that’s just the bar menu, where this friend and I prefer to eat while there. There is a lot more meat on the full menu.

Hopefully this evening will be less windy and I can have a decent flat work session on Eli!

Eating Habits

This is a check in for me, and my horse, and actually my dog, too! So a little while back, I decided I needed to stop eating so much crap. Right around the same time, Eli decided to change his diet, too. And of course Conrad’s appetite has improved since he had his teeth cleaned.

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First, me: I haven’t had a doughnut recently, I am no longer eating a metric tonne of peanut M&Ms daily, and I am consuming worthwhile calories at breakfast instead of granola-bar-type products that are just basically a bunch of sugar anyway. Two thumbs up to Soylent’s Cacao and Chai flavors. I have always struggled with eating solid food in the mornings, and these are a nice alternative. I am still drinking a gallon of coffee. That will never, ever change. My clothes all still fit, so I guess I am on the right track. Although, I probably did not need to eat grilled cheese for lunch twice this week.

Eli: He’s eating normally again. I think I did due diligence here to rule out any teeth issues. He likes the barn grain now, apparently. He can have it! My wallet likes it, too. He is also eating a lot of hay. I think he might even be putting on a little more weight. I was worried he would drop weight but it doesn’t look that way at all right now.

Conrad: After Conrad had his teeth cleaned and two more incisors extracted, he has been eating really, really well. He wasn’t eating poorly before, just slowly and with less enthusiasm than what he is showing now. He is gobbling his breakfast and loves chewing up a little Milkbone after. I think next year for his dental, I might consider asking the vet about cleaning twice a year instead of just once a year.

So, that’s about it. Maybe in another month or so my pants won’t feel quite so snug, ha!

30 Things

I am jumping someone else’s train today — May as Well Event and The $900 facebook pony both posted 30 things we didn’t know about them, and I really like learning random shit about people. At first I wasn’t sure that I could come up with 30 things, especially non-horsey things as Amanda did, because I like that version of it. And after reading The Everything Pony’s 30 things I think it’s interesting that many of us have much more in common than just horses.

1. I took tap & ballet as a kid. I sucked at it, so I quit. I could not do the turning without getting dizzy because I could not coordinate that whole “look at a focus point far away and don’t turn your head until you have to” thing. I am pretty sure I fell down a lot.

2. I took piano lessons as a kid. I sucked less at that, but didn’t practice and stopped going. Although not once did I fall off the bench!

This stuck.

3. I started riding lessons at 9. I sucked at this, too. I fell off a lot. This demonstrates I am not a quitter if I suck at something but love it.

4. What can you do with a BA in English? Go to grad school and graduate. Twice. Drop out of law school. Maybe get a decent job with okay benefits.

5. I worked at HEB. Went through the 2 weeks of training. I thought I’d just be bagging groceries but they put me on the 10-items-or-less line on a holiday weekend and one guy who didn’t speak English very well came through with a ton of exotic produce. I finished working my shift and never went back. Except to shop. Also … would it not be 10-items-or-fewer?

6. I have broken toes, my right elbow, and my left wrist. I have no idea why I haven’t broken more things. See 1. & 3. above.

7. I have waded in Lake Superior long enough to get a leech stuck on the bottom of my foot.

8. We had a beach condo in Port Aransas growing up and my mom always pointed out the different birds. I got really into this and still look for birds of any type everywhere I go. When I see one I haven’t seen before I thumb through a Peterson guide until I find it. I should probably start one of those birders’ “life lists.” Being in Texas, I see some birds that I take for granted, but apparently it is a very big deal to many birders to see a roadrunner. (Tangentially — can you imagine how terrifying and powerful birds would be if they were people-sized? But they are cute and fascinating because they are small. How wonderful this is.)

9. I love far West Texas. Well, not the gigantic, fast, terrifying scorpions there but everything else. I love Marfa. I love going to Star Parties at the McDonald Observatory. I have not seen the Marfa lights, though. Not for lack of trying.

DO NOT touch the works in concrete.

10. I can get a little obsessive about “occult” stuff like cryptozoology and paranormal crap. I used to watch that type of show on tv a lot. Both the fictional and the reality/educational versions. Films, too. The entertainment value wears off after a while for some of it, but I think cryptozoology is actually a really cool way into learning about other cultures. I think of it as a facet of cultural anthropology. Think about what The Hound of the Baskervilles reveals about 19th century Britain. See?

11. You may have already gotten a sense of this, but I am a bit of an amateur naturalist.

12. Remember how I said I love far West Texas? I maybe haven’t been to Big Bend yet. Oops.

13. I am obsessed with the Victorian Era. Also the Age of Enlightenment, but not quite to the same degree.

14. I am obsessed with Gothic literature from the 18th and 19th centuries.

15. I took so much Russian history and art history in college that I could have double majored but there was extra paperwork and having to get permission and other bureaucratic shit that I didn’t bother. I don’t need a piece of paper to confirm my interests.

The Monk was actually pretty ridiculous.

16. My favorite books are Frankenstein, Anna Karenina, The Master and Margarita, and Jane Eyre. And really any Gothic fiction. I’ll read it eventually. Working through Northanger Abbey‘s “horrid” novels right now. But Frankenstein will never not be genius. Much of what media I do enjoy relies heavily on Frankenstein, whether deliberately or inadvertently. I could say that last part about Faust, too. There’s some overlap in there. And while I am talking books, if you want to read Russian literature in translation, look for the pair of translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.

17. I firmly believe you can never read “Ode on a Grecian Urn” too many times.

18. My favorite movies in color are Bladerunner, The Secret of NIMH, and Amadeus. Out of Africa is really good, too.

19. My favorite movies in b&w are The Hound of the Baskervilles, Laura, and The Thing from Another World.

20. I love absurdist humor. I think Will Ferrell is a genius. I also love whatever it is that David Lynch does.

21. “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

22. I am in an online quiz league and I love taking online quizzes. Maybe not math ones.

23. My side-hustle is horse-related, but I mention it because I do love to share my knowledge with those who find interest in similar things who are willing to share their knowledge. Sometimes teaching is a great way to learn.

24. I can’t really sit in movie theaters anymore without having a panic attack. This doesn’t bother me much, because of HD and a fully-stocked bar at my house.

25. I am not religious. While we are in the whole “protected class” area, my sexual orientation is no means no and my gender identity is horse chick.

26. I have lived in Central Texas my entire life and have no plans ever to leave.

27. Bananas taste like a swamp smells to me. I have no idea why this is, but it doesn’t matter. I hate them.

28. Employer-sponsored health insurance has a little too much influence over my life choices right now, but maybe eventually it won’t. Pre-existing conditions don’t have to be political.

29. Chronic laziness in people drives me insane to the point of rage.

30. I do not go camping.

How to Texas in Michigan Weather

My parents are from Michigan. In what I can only characterize as a stroke of genius, they moved to Texas in the 70s (and it had absolutely nothing to do with the Army. Nope.). So every time I say something about this winter of never-ending ice and wet and cold and fog and freezes, they just retort something about how I would die shoveling snow. Yeah. You’re not wrong, forebearers of Swedish, German, and Scots-Irish descent. My DNA may come from the land of ice and snow, but weathering these dank, dark, Moria-like conditions is not for me. No, really, I feel like I am in a giant cave of stuff I want nothing to do with. Where is the sun?

So, how does a Texan cope in this purgatory of dreary desperation?
1. Spirits. Self-explanatory. Flask optional. Be aware that tequila may make you a little too aggressive about demanding more tortilla chips for your queso …

2. Layer-up: Eli gets to wear his quarter sheet A LOT right now, and honestly I think he appreciates it, which is to say he doesn’t try to kick or buck it off. I wear a puffy vest under a puffy coat and groom while wearing gloves and sometimes I leave my helmet on for a really long time after riding because hunter hair keeps my ears warm. I may have driven home with it on the other day, but I can’t say for sure.
3. Stay layered-up while indoors. I wear my puffy coat at my desk at work and at the dining room table at home. I am just trying to recreate what 85F and sunny feels like. But inside. Where the heat is not turned up enough, in my opinion.
4. Scalding hot Mexican food. Slathered in scalding hot queso. Oven-warmed (or heat lamp, either way) tortilla chips are the appropriate utensil.

5. While we are on Mexican food, jalapeños. I put them on everything right now. On toast. On potatoes. On salads. I think they might be good in Greek yogurt …
6. Scalding hot showers: the only time I am actually warm.
7. Scarves … this goes beyond just layering up. I wear scarves everywhere year-round. In winter, I maybe wear two at a time. Then I can wrap my neck and my face from the nose down.
8. Keep a wardrobe of enough winter layers to satisfy a Sherpa in the backseat of your car because when the weather guy says it’s going to get up to 50 today, he means for like 3 minutes. The rest of the day will be like 36F and you might see penguins.
9. Fire. Fire pits, chimineas, grills, smokers … if you have to be outside, light something on fire and cook meat until it gets that smoky, crunchy char around the edges. And then eat it with queso and jalapeños.

And like any devoted Texan, I have added both “chimineas” and “queso” to my spell-check dictionary.

Procrastination

I have really funny friends, and sometimes we have amusing conversations. And sometimes the culmination of such conversations result in:

I let my art speak for itself.

You know how it is. We are all trying really hard not to suck. Some may try harder than others, and some are in different places in their journey of trying not to suck. And not all journeys are in straight lines. (And there might have been a slightly different expression used during the development of this metric.)

Just imagine one side is the good/happy side, the other is the bad/sad side, and the middle is like Kent Farrington-level competence at not sucking. (Or any admirable rider/horse person of any discipline.)

Most of the time I feel pretty orangey-yellow or yellowy-orange when I am working with or around horses. Can I wrap a hoof? Definitely. Is that wrap going to stay on overnight? Mostly. But I ain’t no FEI groom.

Honestly, at some point I think any horse person has experienced almost every level of sucking or not sucking. But where do you think you’d put yourself on this spectrum the majority of the time? Questions and answers here are just for fun. Don’t nobody take ’emselves too serious now.

In other news, I did not ride last night. I had riding clothes for 50f, not 30f. I am sure I can think of the exact place where I’d put meteorologists on this spectrum.