Reason 2,573 I Love My Dog

He is the only sentient being in my house that knows I ate two chocolate old-fashioned donuts while I was supposed to be grocery shopping for healthy stuff like celery and chicken.  It wouldn’t even cross his mind to rat me out.

It gets better.

He’s happy for me.

Duuuuuude, you totally scored!  Where’d you find ’em, huh? Behind the bush next to the dumpster? Whoa those smell good. You ROCK, mom.  I hope I get that lucky.  

Pause.

Wanna play Kill The Fake Squirrel?

No guilt. No secret wondering if this is the start of The Great Chocolate Old-Fashioned Donut Binge of 2011. No projecting how fat that could end up making me, or how bad my arteries will clog. No wondering what psychological stressors drove me to the donut section. No calculating how much psychotherapy it would cost to keep me away from said donut section.

I love my dog. Who else is gonna just be happy for you that you were lucky enough to stuff your face?

I wonder if he’d like maple donuts….

Hair Today…(Caption Contest!)

No idea where the hair extensions came from, but I trust their owner understands the certain outcome when children, horses, hair extensions and Jane’s camera are left in proximity of one another.

I’m out of lame ideas for prizes, so we’ll go with this brilliant plan: the winner gets the prestige of having their winning caption published on TLH, with byline!

Unless I can think of something else.  Which is unlikely, since I gave up sugar. Again.  It’s been six minutes.  Cough.  Seven minutes, thirty-two seconds…thirty-three….what was I saying?

Show Season Commeth

It’s Show Time!

Riders:

Plan on losing everything at least once, and practice finding stuff.   That will help.  Think of it as part of your test.  You already know the other stuff.

Groupies:  (those of us who don’t show, but tag along to help)

  • Book block(s) of pre-show appointments with therapist(s)
  • Be sure to put all therapists numbers on SPEED DIAL in your cell
  • Practice your sooooothing voice
  • Bring lots of Kleenex: if asked, it’s for your allergies
  • Chill the champagne but hide it, in case it doesn’t quite work out
  • Copy show checklist (rider will lose every thing.  Not her fault, it’s Murphy’s Law.  We fly under Murphy’s radar.)
  • Bring extra:
    • safety pins
    • breeches-color thread and needle
    • baby wipes
    • hairnets
    • bobby pins
    • duct tape
    • sit tight wax
    • show gloves
    • stock tie
    • boot rags (white!)
    • lint roller
    • fruit (every rider is too fat to eat pre-ride.  Occasionally you can stuff a banana down them.)
    • Gatorade (for the rider who won’t eat, but is fainting from heat)
    • donuts (no rider is fat after her ride)
    • map (doesn’t matter how often you’ve been to show grounds. No map?  You will get lost.)
    • sedative (for you)

I don’t show.  I’m a professional groupie.  My job is to keep track of who is up next, stuff myself on all the food you brought that you will be too fat to eat until 2:07pm, fix the braids Flicka caught on the trailer, and stand around with bottled water, a lint roller, riding crop, and boot rag.

I’m kind of a happy, mobile valet-slash-coatrack-slash-therapist.  Unlike a trainer, I have no advice beyond chin up, thrust the bust, and smile, you are having FUN! Remember?  This is fun?

Three things you should NEVER say to a rider starting to melt down at a show:

  1. Continue reading “Show Season Commeth”

The Blogging Learning Curve (more donuts)

It’s steep.  And I mess up.  For those of you who were completely baffled by the last post, it’s because this one was supposed to go before it.  Though it’s entirely possible I got carried away and the last one shouldn’t have gone up at all.  Mea Culpa.  Here, at least, is some form of context:

For those of you following the (yawn) donut drama I can’t seem to stop myself from unfolding here, I have an important update.

Unfortunately I do not need a new car.  (DANG.)

Lillian, sorry, you’re gonna have to figure out another reason to give Dave about the new Jag in the driveway.  Daisy, I left a message for you at the Mercedes dealership.  Back away from the heated seats.

I was talking to Vi the other night over mutual horse currying at the cross-ties, and out of the blue she said, “You know Jane, I don’t know what’s wrong with me…I stopped and bought two donuts on the way over.  And I ate them both!  I don’t even like donuts.  Isn’t that strange?”

I still thought my donut-suffering was a coincidence.

Saturday (typically the busiest boarding-barn day) I heard Janet in back of me: “Morning Jane!  Want a donut?”  She held open a very large pink box under my nose.  Holy cow those looked good.  My hand whipped in and yanked out a chocolate old-fashioned while my head was still sorrowfully shaking “no thank you”, and my lips were saying “Nah, not today”.

Janet looked very confused.  Heck, I looked very confused.

Daisy rolled her eyes at my mixed-message body signals and went back to tacking up Barbie.  Maybe if I eat it really fast she’ll forget I took one?  You do the crime, you do the time.  In other words, no more griping to Daisy about donut cravings.

Kim wandered over and said “Wow, you know, I’ve been resisting donuts all week.  This is so weird.  I’m not usually a donut person.  Good, but weird.  Thanks.”

Sandy took one look at the box, shoved her hands in her pockets, determinedly stared at the rubber matting and speed-walked past the warm sugar odor wafting out of the box.

There’s a highly contagious donut virus running rampant through our barn population.  Beware!

Public Health Notice: Monosaccharidae Mosaic Virus

Note: At the barn this Saturday, I overheard people talking about odd behavioral and body changes, as well as an increased desire for a food they ordinarily dislike.  Since these fit my exact symptoms, I thought I’d do some research.  Shockingly, I found out about a little known virus and put together a public health bulletin for all barn attendees.  (On a personal note, you will be relieved to know what I have is viral, and most likely you will not be bored to death by it on this blog in the future.)

MMV1 is NOT transmittable to horses: they are immune.

The virus seems to transmit only from the original vector, person to person, or the occasional sneaky dog.  At the moment, the virus seems to be cropping up only in the human barn population.

Virus History:

MMV1 is a rare form of human virus that ran rampant through government offices in the 1980’s and 90’s: apparently resurfacing from a 1950’s outbreak thought to have been eradicated.  Originally MMV1 was thought to have been primarily a “street-contact” virus, due to the disproportionate number of firefighters and police officers who became infected.   Previously the relatively benign disease decimated these populations with it’s tell-tale signature of infection, a hugely distended belly known colloquially as “Officer Gut”.

Coincidentally, a steep decline in new infections was noticed when public officers began shunning bakeries in favor of Starbucks.

With the advent of this apparent remission, the government Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was able to track down the elusive vector of the monosaccharidae mosaic virus: the donut.

Current Outbreaks:

Recently, this virus has been making inroads into the human populations of several public barns.  Most notably California, Texas, Colorado, and a currently isolated incident in upstate New York.

Who is at Risk:

Those in wet or cold climates appear to be more at risk than those in dry and warm climates.  Especially risky are days that are actually cold and wet.  Barn populations with large Saturday owner/rider turnout appear to be most at risk.  (Home barns appear to be less at risk, if outside contact with other barns is limited.)

Vector Casing:

Note: Transmission of the virus is impossible as long as the casing remains intact.  The vector is commonly enclosed in a solid (non-opaque), square  paperboard container: usually of a dark Pepto-Bismal pink color – but has been known to appear in brown paper bags or white paperboard containers as well.  You are at no risk of contracting the virus by contact with the casing.  Casing contact is a cause for caution only if casing is unsealed.  Openings are large and quite visible, so there is no cause for alarm as long as you cannot see the darkened interior of the casing.

Preventative Measures:

Inoculation is strongly recommended, and appears to mitigate the risk of infection by about 90%.  The FDA has not yet approved a vaccine, but anecdotal evidence suggests a significant risk reduction (90%) in transmission if the  human is inoculated about 15 minutes prior to exposure.

Inoculating more than an hour before exposure is not recommended, as the vaccine is short-acting and wears off quickly.  Carrying a second booster inoculation is advisable if spending more than two hours in a public barn.  If spending an entire day in the barn is necessary, bringing a cooler of supplies is advisable.

Reported Successful Inoculations: (anecdotal)

Home remedies abound, and are surprisingly effective.  The highest incident of non-infection has been reported by eating a much larger breakfast than normal.  This disables the body’s natural “justification” mechanism, and boosts resistance.  Other reported remedies: avoidance of anything outside the home that is pink, putting small amounts of mentholated gel beneath the nostrils (to disrupt the sense of smell),  wearing exceptionally tight jeans or smooth, light colored, “teenager” pull-on breeches. (The latter is best done in conjunction with a shirt that does not fall more than an inch below the waist.)  Fitted jackets/coats are also reported to help.

Signs of Infection:

This virus manifests in cunning ways (presumably to self-replicate).  Aside from an unusual (often subliminal) desire for donuts and pink boxes, typically men and women show different signs of infection:

  • Men
    • distended belly (officer gut)
    • cranky “so what” attitude (steep decrease in stimulation of ‘guilt’ portion of brain)
    • increased thirst for coffee
    • decreased desire for anything labeled “no trans-fats”
  • Women
    • thigh spread and widening of hips (mother-in-law phenomenon)
    • deepening of cellulite
    • increased desire to forego exercise
    • spontaneous weeping (steep increase in stimulation of ‘guilt’ portion of brain)

Listen to the doctors below:  Back Away From the Donuts…

Hospital Workers Fight Donut Virus photo by: evaxebra

~End of Public Service Announcement~

Being Food Lucky

Disclaimer: off topic.  Unless you count That Look from Tiny yesterday.  And the Oof when I mounted.  Negative didn’t work.  New tactic: must look for sunny side of wanting sugar 24/7.

I consider myself food lucky.   I live in a country where food is plentiful and I can afford what I need.  I’m lucky enough get 3 meals a day.  I have major gratitude for that.  I also have major gratitude that I kinda don’t care what I eat at meals.  (Except lima beans – self explanatory – or liver.  I find it difficult to be grateful for edible organs.)

Here’s the problem bright side: being food lucky doesn’t stop with meals.  I’m lucky enough to have donuts throw themselves at me.  Cookies too.  Same with chips.  Did I mention the muffins, pastries, candy and cupcakes?  They seem to worship me.  I appear to be magnetically attractive to sugar.  Everywhere I go, some don’t-need-it food item tries to glom onto my body.  I end up walking around with sugar stuck to me.   I can pry it off at home, the barn, pretty much anywhere…except in the car.

There is some sort of mind control device in my car.  I get in, not thinking about much…maybe riding, the kids, the dog, or if I need a haircut.  The minute I turn the key in the ignition, a PowerPoint Bakery Presentation materializes holographically on the windshield.

Complete with eating talking points.  Slide after slide of color photos.  Wow.  Pretty.  That one looks good.  Oh wait, this one looks really good.

The  graph that charts the donuts-to-hips ratio zooms past at light speed.  Oh that, not important…some dumb graph the COO decided we needed to include to provide visual balance.

I was IMing Lilli about this phenomenon:

Lilli: got your ER txt too late to resp last night.  bad food day yest?  My LR threw some M&M’s at me when I got home.  had to eat them so I didn’t slip and break a hip.

Me: smart on the m&m’s.  bad 4 a doc to show up with broken bones.  me –car problems.  kept driving by danger zones.  sideswiped by doritos.  small ding.

Lilli knows there isn’t one place between my house and the barn where I could drive past so much as a brussel sprout.  However, just because you’re a doc who knows  the disgusting truth about hardened arteries doesn’t give you special food dispensation.

Lilli: get it.

Me:  just missed getting hit by a donut last night too (what is UP with the donuts??  Do I like donuts?) they keep throwing themselves at me.

Lilli: ok donuts are poison, transfat galore stay away stay away

Me: cake is better than donuts?  Uh-oh…brain is kicking in.  NO WAIT, DON’T ANSWER.  You’ll trap yourself.

Pause while we both think.

Lilli: cake is better than donuts.  not fried.

Another pause, while I think.

Eureka.

I have the answer.  Better fill Lilli in right away.

Me: I have solved the problem.

Lilli: solution?  really??

Me: I need a new car.

Lilli: banging forehead.  Of course!  why didn’t I think of that?  I bet a Jag would solve the M&M’s…

Me: totally. your living room will be so jealous it won’t throw welcome home food at you.  wonder what kind of car I should get?

Lilli: something without a powerpoint plug in.  I know.  a convertible!  blow away slides.  hold…looking for pics…can you tell i don’t want to catch up on paperwork?

Friends.  They’re the best.  And whew, what a relief.  I could have had a real problem…like something wonky in me.

It’s just car trouble.

Copyright © 2009. The Literary Horse. All rights reserved.

The Oof Factor

Ahh…January.  The time of year every horse turns and looks reproachfully at the rider.  It’s not the cold.  Horses generally get frisky and like cold weather.

Surprisingly, it’s the cookies.  You’d think they’d love it, given every horse on the planet knows the sound of Mrs. Pasture’s cookies, no matter how quietly you try to sneak the jar into the tack room.

With their propensity to be bottomless cookie pits, one would hope for a little compassion.

But no.

We all get a loud Oof and that look the first time we mount after the holidays.  Who needs a scale?  We have horses.  Trust me.  They know EXACTLY how many tins of cookies, fruit cakes, candies and pies you consumed over the holidays.  And they have no compunction about letting you know that you are not the same size as you were last week.  Which they did notice, by the way, was heavier than the previous week.  You can stop any time now.

I’m very lucky.  My first ride(s) back are on Tiny.  Tiny is affectionate, huge, tolerant, huge, patient, huge, relaxed, huge, and forgiving.  Did I mention he’s HUGE?  He’s the perfect “get back on” horse.  He’s so huge not much registers on his radar.

I missed Tiny a lot.  He’s a real guy-guy, but loves to be hugged and fussed over.  He’s also good at commiseration and has a terrific sense of humor.  I couldn’t wait to bury my fingers in his foot-thick mane (great on freezing days!) and hug that giant head.  It was a good reunion.  He wasn’t mad at me for being gone, he’s not a big grudge holder.

He fell right back into the same quirky greeting rituals.  They all involve his lips.  He uses them the way an elephant uses it’s trunk.  There is no other horse, NONE, I would let be mouthy this way.  For him, his lips are hands, and he has to touch and hold everything.  At the risk of sounding utterly mushy, I find it so intimate and comforting when Tiny simply stands there, holding my sleeve.  It’s like a little kid holding onto your pant leg.  I like you.

I said to heck with it to the western saddle (recommended for my injury recovery) and went right for the dressage saddle.  Lighter for him, lighter for me to put on.

We do our little getting ready rituals.  He steals the crop from under my arm and holds it while I tighten the girth.  Once I get my gloves on, he drops it into the palm of my outstretched hand.  I slide my fingers under the girth at his belly to release any folds of caught skin, while he delicately snags my hood and pulls it up over my head.

We reach the mounting block.  I get on, conscientiously landing very lightly in the saddle.

Tiny omits a very loud Oof, turns around and looks at me reproachfully.

Dang.  He noticed.

Copyright © 2009. The Literary Horse. All rights reserved.