Hair Today…

Our Holiday Horse Parade goes visiting today!  Go see Aarene at Haiku Farm for the full joy of the season.

Hair today and gone…maybe next Tuesday?  Please?  Hang on, let me clean my glasses.  Whew, glad it wasn’t hair on the screen.  I am SO itchy.

We body clipped.  Bella clipped Dinero, and Alice and I traded off clipping Hudson: in my case to learn to clip, and in Alice’s case, to practice.

Bella showed me how to adjust my massive 900 lb Heineger body clippers (gift from a friend who swore she was never, ever, clipping a horse again), how much pressure to apply, and other details.  Once I got “it’s like waxing, you have to stretch the skin”, I did better swaths.  Hudson didn’t move a hoof.  I did three nice long swaths up his neck before my body clippers went: chunka chunka chunka.  I fervently hoped I was doing something wrong.  (My mid-size clippers died a permanant death last week.)

I handed them over to Bella: she shook her head, and turned them off.

Great.  I now have a partially bald horse, and 2 dead clippers.  The remaining pair would be appropriate for body clipping an elderly hamster.  Note clipper size in relation to the AA battery pictured:

I open my mouth to wail. Before any sound can come out, Bella hands me her second pair of body clippers, and her second pair of medium size clippers.  Note to self: try to keep awe in control, and file “backups are good” in brain.

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Holiday Horse Kick Off, and We Contemplate Body Clipping

TLH Annual Holiday Horses Parade!

With thanks to Cyndi from Living a Dream:

I’ll post ’em as they come in!

I bought a sparkly snowflake headband for Hudson (whoohahaha), as soon as it stops raining, he’s going to don it merry and bright.

Body Clipping

Alice and I are going to take body clipping lessons from Bella on Sunday.  Dinero and Hudson are going to get a trace clipped.  Alice and I are going to share clipping duty on Hudson.  It should be a blast, uneven, and very tiring.  All in all, totally fun.

I tried to explain clipping a horse to Shaun.  “Imagine clipping a car”, I said, trying to get across the enormity of a clip job.  “Now imagine clipping a car that’s chatty, hungry, bored, antsy, has an itchy fender, and is certain you have food. That’s ‘body clipping’ in a nutshell.”

Bella offered to clip a design on him, if I drew one.

I’m still in revenge mode (for the kick).

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A Roping We Have Gone…

The title is a bit of a misnomer. (You might want to get a cup of coffee, this is a bit longer than usual.)

Hudson and I were invited to watch Bella’s roping practice.  Hudson’s been bored, I was thrilled, and he would LOVE going.

I felt some high-school type anxiety: would I fit in (wearing a helmet), ride well enough, do something stupid because I didn’t know any better?  All these people have known Hudson longer than I have.  Would they find me worthy enough to be Hudson’s new owner?  Bella texted me: I didn’t need to bring anything, she had all the tack I’d need in her trailer. A very kind way of saying lose the dressage saddle. Bless you, Bella.

I also had a smidge of loading apprehension: I haven’t loaded a horse into a trailer for years. Never in a slant load.  I’ve always owned horses (with the exception of Mr. Chips) who viewed trailers as the secret club house of all chain saw wielding serial killers.

I leaned on Bella. I handed Hudson to her to load. I could have saved myself the anxiety.

Hudson didn’t walk into the trailer: he jumped into it with glee.  He would have run over Bella to GET INSIDE NOW, if he didn’t know what that would get him. She threw the lead rope over his jigging back and leapt back.  Hudson put his weight on his haunches and launched himself into the trailer, leaping in with both front feet like a hunter taking off for a fence, pulling both rear feet up neatly behind him.

“I see he’s awful to load”, I say.  I’m holding Dinero, who is up next.  He’s standing placidly in front of the open back.

“Terrible”, she says, shoving Hudson’s happy butt sideways so she can close the divider.  Hudson buries his head hungrily in the alfalfa.  I have the distinct impression that given the choice, he’d live in the trailer.

Bella steps aside in the doorway.  “Just throw the lead over Dinero, will you?”  The minute the rope hits Dinero’s back he hoofs himself up past Bella and into the trailer with no guidance.  Bella hooks him up, checks latches and we close to go.

I feel like I’m in the twilight zone.  Two horses loaded, tied and ready to roll in under 60 seconds.  They like it in there.  I need to take Loading 101 over again.

It was a gorgeous drive.  Nothing like living in the middle of California wine country to make you appreciate how good your life is:

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A Stalker, Attempted Murder, and Why Guilt is Bad

This episode of TLH is accompanied (in your head) by the following sound track: “Feeeeelings….nothing more than feeeeelings…..trying to forget myyy…..feeeelings of luuuuuuv…”

I continued to stalk Hudson, trying for a nice photo.  I had three problems.

  1. Hudson has no interest in being photographed.
  2. Hudson has been miffed with Jane ever since she tried to kill him.
  3. No photography assistants.  Jane has turned into one of those horse owners.

She’s working with a 2×4 to try to find her normal self again. Existential question: when one flagellates, is it considered cheating to wear a helmet, or proper martyrdom, since a helmet clearly prolongs the flagellation process?

Back to the important stuff: getting a photo of Hudson that doesn’t make him look like he’d been imprisoned in Guantanamo for “questioning”.

This does not look like a loved horse.  This looks like a horse handcuffed in a cell with the woman who attempted to kill him.

He’s telling the truth.  I did try to kill him.

Continue reading “A Stalker, Attempted Murder, and Why Guilt is Bad”

Prayers for Tiny

Or however you send your healing!

He’s on his way to U.C. Davis with an undiagnosed problem that is affecting his whole body.  Thank god for good friends like Bella, who drop everything on a Saturday to haul him.  We (and the vet) thought he’d re-sprained part of his neck again after his colic a couple of months ago.  It appears to be more systemic than that.

Send strength for Lily…

Awry Airlines Takes a Seriously Good Detour

Shaun (who is getting better by the day!) had been out of the second hospital for a few days when Daisy invited us over to dinner.  She bought a house, helped us in the hospital, closed escrow, and moved all in the same weekend.  Daisy gets the extreme talent award.

She simultaneously texted Shaun and I.

Daisy: Dinner Friday?  My house?  Low key.  Just us.

Shaun: Y.  Time?

Jane: No. S just out of hospital, still can’t eat.  Rain check?

Daisy: Do you guys ever talk to each other?

Shaun: no.

Jane: no.  your point?

Daisy: Obviously you are not in the same room.  Talk.  Get back to me.

We collide in the hall: both looking down at our phones.  We look up at each other.

“Daisy…”, I say.  “…invited us to dinner Friday”, Shaun says.

We talk at the same time: “I said no”. “I said yes”.

Continue reading “Awry Airlines Takes a Seriously Good Detour”

Shaun Steals the Wheel (or How Shaun Snuck into TLH!)

This is Shaun, I’ve been home…um…I think about 24 hours.  The hospital set me free: I have to name California Pacific Medical Center as the hospital that took care of me. They were amazing, and should  be lauded.  (BTW, Jane is standing over my shoulder reading as I type.  I am still on pain pills and she is  very afraid of what I may say.)

HA!  That worked.  She moved. I would be more afraid of me when I am off pain pills, but let’s let her have her delusions!

Thank you everyone for your kind words, they were wonderfully supportive.  For those of you who have not figured this out yet…Jane is really an awesome woman who I am in love with. (And I want Steve and Brian to back off now…)

I also want to thank the gang who hang with horses here in our county.  They were really fantastic to both of us.  One of them actually stayed and listened to me cry after the surgery.  Daisy was hilarious and kept me laughing even though she knew it would hurt. Hurting wasn’t important: the healing of laughter was.

Stuff Jane left out: one night I reached for something on the night table..[edited out by Jane because she’s going to post this event later and tease the crap out of Shaun].  One night I bombed her with a bag of phones (well maybe two), and told her to turn off the alarms I was really too tired to deal with my phones.  Or the night I begged her not to leave me. She snuck back in and slept with her head down by my feet (not all that appealing). Her feet were by my head in a backwards spoon, and the nurses only kicked her out 8 times before they gave up.  I know that she got about 12 minutes of sleep that night but I will never forget the love I felt.

In September we celebrate three anniversaries.

  1. First wedding: our first wedding celebration (which was huge). We decided we couldn’t wait any longer for “legalized marriage” so we got married in our church and celebrated.
  2. Second wedding: five years later we renewed our vows and got married again.
  3. Third wedding: we married during that tiny window when CA let us take our (legal) wedding vows, and we remain legally married.

There are many hilarious stories about these events, but as you can see I am not allowed to write guest columns.

[Note from Jane: Oh I don’t know, I like where this is going.  I have some love for the heroic flattery coming my way.  We may have Shaun guest column often?]

Thank you all, but most of all thank you Jane, I will never, ever forget the last 192 days  or the last 4,805 before that, I love you now and forever.

[Jane: Somebody hand me a hankie!!!]

As the Hot Walker Turns: Episode 2

These are the days of our lives…

It’s Tuesday. Bella is finishing her rig check. She’s picking up her new roping horse, Dinero, tomorrow after work. Work is in San Francisco, about a 2 hour commute each way.  She carpools to work.

“You all set?” I say.

“Double checking the brake lights”, Bella says.

“Are you taking Thursday off?” I ask.

She looks startled. “Why? I’m picking him up tomorrow.   Gotta work Thursday.”

I’ve underestimated her toughness yet again.

“I thought you had to go south of San Francisco to pick him up. That’s going to be a long day.”

“Not too bad”, Bella says.

Not too bad?

I run the scenario through my head: car pool will pick her up Wednesday at 4 am, she’ll work all day, get deposited back home (where the rig is), around 5 pm. Then she’ll jump in and drive….how far?

“Where is Dinero?” I ask

“Monterey”, answers Bella, walking toward the house, “Sorry, I gotta go get some stuff together.”


Uh. She’ll drive 2 hours to work, clock in, work all day, drive 2 hours home, then drive a giant rig 400 miles round trip, unload the new horse, and be ready for the carpool again at 4 am? Oh, and part of that drive will be along the hilly, winding, un-guard-railed cliffs of Highway 1.  In the dark.

No biggie.

Me and a bag of Doritos show up Wednesday before the carpool  arrives. Road trip gift.

No rig.

Alice is in the garage unloading groceries.  (She and Bella share the house.) She sees me staring at the empty spot where the rig is usually parked.

I hold up the Doritos. “I see I’m too late. Did she get off work early? When did she leave?”

Alice says, “I know, isn’t it crazy?! I can’t believe it.”  She pauses. “No. It’s Bella, I believe it.”

Huh?  My question and her answer don’t really go together.   I look puzzled.

Alice looks puzzled at my puzzled.  I watch her replay the exchange in her head.

“Oh sorry”, Alice says, “She left at 4 am.”

“I mean, what time did she leave after the carpool brought her home?” I say.

“You don’t know?” says Alice. “She drove the rig to work. She’s going straight to Monterey after work.”


Alice and I look at each other.  “I KNOW“, she says.

If you have never been to San Francisco, let me point out why this is shocking.

Continue reading “As the Hot Walker Turns: Episode 2”

As the Hot Walker Turns: Episode 1

These are the days of our lives…

Hudson Retires

The chiropractor looked at Bella after adjusting Hudson’s shoulder again.  “Go ahead and finish out the season, we can keep him going that long.”  Red Flag.  We can keep him going that long is not how Bella works.

“If I quit roping now, will I be able to rehab him back into soundness?”

“Yeah” says the chiro, “but he’s 21, what are you going to do with him?  Might as well get one last season out of him.”

The chiropractor just guaranteed Hudson would never rope again.  Bella won’t work a horse into the ground, and she’s well aware that older horses need more care, not less.

What now?  Bella wants to stay sharp, keep her roping skills progressing, and compete. Hudson could be re-habbed into complete soundness, sold, and the money put toward a new roping horse. Should be win-win.  People lined up years ago: there’s a waiting list for Hudson when he retires. She knows everyone, he’d get a good home, and be able to keep close tabs on him.

She thinks some more.  It’s not going to work.

He’s a GOOD roping horse.

Continue reading “As the Hot Walker Turns: Episode 1”

The Mother of All Road Trips

It’s time for Barbie to go get pregnant.  We’re thinking of it as going off to college.  Higher education.  Potential pregnancy.  Same-same.

Did I say that out loud?

I could bore you all with the “reasons” why I in invited myself along:  never been to an AI facility, totally bored with broken ribs, fun with Daisy and Bella, want to see and take scrapbook pics of Barbie in her new digs.  All true.  But you know the real reason, right?   Let’s see, three hours going, an hour there, three hours back.  SEVEN  hours!

Finally, a road trip with eating potential.  That’s at least a Happy Meal.  It would make a Happy Meal look downright modest.  FRIES.

Daisy spends forever (the night before) buffing a mud encrusted Barbie to an other wordly gloss. No arriving at the Fancy Schmancy clinic looking like a horse cutout of The Great Salt Flats.   She’s going to arrive as a show ready hunter.

Timing is tight on moving day. I volunteer to get there early for HazMat duty, in case she rolls.

Continue reading “The Mother of All Road Trips”