Thankful for …

Food. And a lot of it! Not going to lie, I over-ate for the entire long weekend. I have no regrets.

But mostly I am thankful that this turkey did not seem to do additional damage after his unplanned escape from the round pen. I am sure he will find more creative ways to ding himself, but maybe not for a few weeks? Maybe?

 

Lock Out

On Friday, it was barn vaccination day, so the horses were not ridden. I took Eli on a hand walk. I don’t think he minded just grooming and grazing. On Saturday, all of the horses had a bit of that post-vaccination malaise. I walked Eli under saddle and trotted a few steps to see how he felt after his chiropractic adjustment that morning. Maybe right after vaccination wasn’t an ideal time to test that out, but he felt good to me.

On Sunday, I joined the Sunday group lesson for the first part of it, before I had to duck out and get somewhere else on time. (I asked the trainer in advance that this would be okay. I do not recommend attending a lesson and then just quitting in the middle unannounced!). It’s a fun group to ride in. The horses all seemed recovered from the vaccinations and Eli had plenty of extra energy. My right hamstring seems to be a bit sore, I suspect from holding a prolonged 2-point. So I guess I better practice in the 2-point a bit more on the flat …

After I left the barn, I stopped to get gas with plenty of time to get to my next destination on time. One of the things I automatically do while pumping gas (without getting into the feminist optics of this right now) is to open my driver side door and then relock the car, with my driver side door open — my gas cap is also on the driver side. However, a trash can by the gas pump had some bees flying around it and without thinking I partially shut my driver side door so that a bee wouldn’t fly in my car. I shut it a little too far and it locked. EVERYTHING was in my car — keys, phone, etc …

My first brain went to, Oh I’ll just make a collect call on a pay phone … obviously my second brain overruled that idiocy. That was a great idea in 1998, but not today. I have roadside assistance through my auto insurance that offers no out-of-pocket lock out service, so I knew I could do that … as soon as I could get to a smartphone that I could hang on to for a while to request assistance. I went into the gas station store and asked if I could borrow a phone. Luckily, the guy was understaning and I called in reinforcements (hi, Mom!) to bring me a smartphone so I could look up what number to call and then receive texts confirming my location and that someone was coming.

Which was interesting. I got a confirmation text at 12:30pm saying that help would get to me by 1:00pm. Annoying, but probably the best service I could get on a Sunday. I could check the status of the claim on the phone via a link in the text message …

Please note the times …

Again, I wasn’t stuck in a wormhole, so I thought this was pretty effed up.

FINALLY, after the insurance contacted me after I replied “N”, no one has come to help me, a Pop-A-Lock guy from a nearby neighborhood was able to get to me in like 15 minutes. Why they didn’t send that guy initally, I don’t know. I forgot to screenshot the map of the first service request, and they were trying to send a guy who was 30 miles away – basically almost 2 counties over. WTF. The entire experience was a little too automated for me: my insurance contracts with a roadside assistance service provider, who then contracts with local businesses. I would have just called Pop-A-Lock myself, but as I said before, if I go through my insurance’s roadside assistance there is no out-of-pocket. (Incidentally, something very similar happened with this same roadside assitance when I had a flat tire a while ago. I may draft an angry letter soon …)

Ultimately I was late to where I was supposed to be, but the day wasn’t a total wash from the delay, and I still got to see kiddos dressing up ponies for Halloween.

I promise to return to more horsey content tomorrow.

Can’t Stop Scrolling

Admittedly, I am an Instagram addict. I find all kinds of worthwhile things via Instagram. Some of what’s caught my eye this week …

 

An all navy Palo Alto long sleeve top? Um. Yes. This post even makes me want to wear white breeches just for fun. Weird.

I avidly follow Scott Brash. He even posts endearingly cute barn videos of his horses playing with muck rakes and such. But I have a conundrum … I like Scott Brash but I dislike clowns and he just used the clown emoji so now I’m conflicted.

I haven’t googled the hashtag and I have no idea why this picture exists but I think my life is markedly better for it. And I know I have said this before, but Leonardo DiCaprio is literally trying to save the world. His foundation’s Instagram is pretty badass, too.

It’s weird to me, how much I enjoy Elon Musk’s Instagram posts. He comes off as a regular guy who is just really into his job. His job being the future.

Holy beaded belt.

And last, if you haven’t ordered from breeches.com yet, you get 15% off your first order with coupon code SAS15P!

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.

20180308_1528462089966990.jpg

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.