In Which We Accidentally Create Gopher Karma

Shaun stares at me.

I asked, as innocently as possible, “Have you ever ticked off a gopher?”

It’s 6:30 am, we’re both wearing 6 layers of clothing, and holding speckled tin cups of coffee, gazing out over the deserted campground.

She’s a city girl. “Ticked off” goes with “frisk for firearms” not gopher.

She squints. There’s a busy person in her brain trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

“How do you tick off a gopher?”, she asks, looking blankly at the picnic table.

I blow steam off my coffee cup. If I answer literally, she won’t understand what I’m suggesting.

“Skunk karma?”, I say.

Continue reading “In Which We Accidentally Create Gopher Karma”

A Nice Plank in the Ocean, and Hudson Gets a Chiropractor

It would be so much easier if we could ease our spouses into Horse Culture, if it didn’t involve confessing the need for cash.

“Um honey,” I say, carefully, “I need the Chiropractor.”

“Oh sure!” Shaun says, sealing her financial tomb, “Is your back bothering you again?”

“No, my back is doing okay now”, I say, hoping this will sound like a good thing, once she figures out where this is going.  (It could be worse, we could need two chiropractors?)

She looks at me in puzzlement.  “Your neck?”

Oh hey, good idea, I hadn’t thought of that!  It affects my neck, so maybe she’ll go for it?

“Kind of”, I say, “Hudson’s shoulder is bothering him, which is affecting his neck and back, and making my neck and back hurt too.”

I look at her.  Wait.  She hasn’t made the connection.  Dang.

Continue reading “A Nice Plank in the Ocean, and Hudson Gets a Chiropractor”

Tuning Up the Translator

Shaun is hunting through receipts, looking for the one on which we bought Micah’s video game.  The game doesn’t work.  Reach, scan, put down….reach, scan…pause.

Jane, sensing the pause: “Did you find it?”

Shaun, shoving glasses down her nose: “Bleach?  Why did you buy bleach?”

This is not spending surveillance.  I’m allergic to bleach.  Bleach on our household receipt sticks out like a raw steak in a vegan household.

Continue reading “Tuning Up the Translator”

Awry: We Will Be Boarding Momentarily

A quick update for all the wonderful well wishers, those who comment, and those who don’t: thank you.


Shaun is back in the hospital.  I haven’t slept for 48 hours.  The bad news is I’m holding the pretty end of the stick, the one with all the sparkles and rainbows.  Shaun is  holding the scary end of the stick: invisible, fragile, uncertain, painful.   She is no longer in the good hospital.  We had to rush her to the ER, which meant rushing to a lesser hospital.  “Hospital” might even be a stretch.

It’s scary to go into an emergency room and come out in much worse shape.  More scary to be admitted after the emergency room nearly kills you, then be ignored by the floor staff.  Jane had to tap dance and smile and be engaging when she wanted to strangle the incompetent morons.

If Shaun makes it through all this intact, I am SO going to kill her.  (After I cry and tell her how much I love her.)  She is very sick.

I distracted myself from impending hysteria by diagnosing people in adjacent curtained cubicles.  A triathlon runner who passed out, and is moaning through horrible muscle spasms.  ER staff doesn’t know what the underlying cause might be.  Helllloooo.  Tying up.  IV fluids, electrolytes, metabolic panel, and body temperature control.  STAT.  Orange juice is not going to cut it.

Baby with odd behavior, who wouldn’t stop crying.  He was swatting at the sides of his belly with his fists and screaming.  Easy. Colic.

Uncomfortable Man bent over then stretching out then bending over.  Looks just like that gelding with gall stones.

I may take Shaun to the vet.

It’s going to be awhile.  Great time to visit all the wonderful blogs on the list and on the (unfinished) Horse Bloggers page.

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!!!]

Christmas Decorating

Not too long ago, that round  yellow thing suddenly appeared in the sky, and the temperature went from 40 to 70. I threw open all the windows.  I wanted that intoxicating, sun warmed air to waft through our house.  I hate air-fresheners.  Nothing comes close to the real thing.  Shaun and I were getting her ready to travel.  We were doing laundry, packing, making lists, checking bill due dates, and itemizing stuff we needed to pick up from a big box store.

With the windows open, the normal Saturday sounds wafted in as well, kids screaming and skateboarding, dogs barking when they met on the street, friends walking together and chatting.  Our house is on a corner, there are no sidewalks, and our yard is on the corner as well.  We’re in the far back corner of the development, on the way to the lake, and frequently wave at small groups of retired women who power walk the lake route by passing our house.  It’s all very friendly. If I’m out grilling ribs, neighbors jokingly invite themselves to dinner, or ask what kind of barbeque sauce we use. (Exquisite chef that I am, I eyeball it and say “Brown?”)

We have a potted Japanese maple, with delicate red leaves: it has to be 20 years old now.  Christmas has claimed the tree: leaping up into the pot, then curling around the trunk of the tree to survey his kingdom and his subjects as they walk by.

The kids are off with friends, I’m folding shirts and Shaun is checking items off her packing list.  I’d lugged the suitcase in earlier, when Shaun was out picking up supplies.  I unzipped it and cleaned out the flotsam from the last trip.  Where do the extra buttons and bobby pins come from?  Who uses bobby pins anymore?  I picture some disgruntled, underpaid, airport security personnel who is sick to death of rifling through everyone’s underwear.  She’s probably tossing in a few bobby pins, a sewing kit, and a couple of sticks of gum from time to time.

I forgot our dog has developed a strong dislike of suitcases.  He knows it means Shaun is leaving.  I stagger back into the bedroom with a pile of laundry fresh out of the dryer.  Christmas is curled up in an impossibly tiny ball at the bottom of the suitcase, trying to look invisible.  I yell casually to Shaun ( in the office printing out her boarding pass): “Crisis in bedroom #1.”  I dump the laundry on the bed.  Shaun walks in: “What’s the prob…” She looks down at the black dog fading into the black lining of the black suitcase.  “Oh”, she says. “We forgot and got it out too early again?”

“My bad”, I say.

Continue reading “Christmas Decorating”

Spring Break

I hesitated to write the word “break”.  (All of a sudden, I’m superstitious.)

Our house will be overflowing with kids and family, we’re looking forward to that.  We should be able to trick Auntie Daisy and into coming over at least once.  I will once again be welded to my spatula ala Sponge Bob, turning out batch after batch of french toast.  You may not see me here much for a bit.  I’m toying with the idea of Blog Muzak, by posting a photo every so often.  In my case it’s Muzak: I’m not a photographer.  For those of you still caught in the worst throes of winter, I’ll try for spring photos: we all need hope.

For those of you who are sick to death of hearing about me splatting and impaling instead of being ON the horse, you can always type “Jane Bull Ride” into the search box, and see that fine movie.  Be sure to read how, exactly, I ended up on the bull.  I think that’s the post prior to the video.

The same hard stuff is still going on.  That’s life, isn’t it?  One minute  you’re crying, the next you’re laughing, mystified, pulling your bra out of a tree.  What?  I didn’t tell you about that?!


Happy trails.

The Girl Scout Motto: Part 1

Be Prepared.

I was a Girl Scout.   We earned badges in different subjects, to be well-rounded in our preparedness.

For those of you outside the US, the Girl Scouts is a kind of girls adventure club where you learn useful stuff  like how to make footstools out of tomato juice cans.

We were prepared for any extreme footstool emergency.

The Cold War was on.  If the Russians pushed the big red button first, you could count on US Girl Scouts to rush into a massive civilian relief effort to replace all the annihilated footstools.

For those of you who are instantly up in arms at my mildly sarcastic tone, please realize I’m speaking only from my personal experience as a G.S. in the 1960’s.  I had to learn the proper way to cut a sandwich, so the bread didn’t condense at the point of impact.  For the benefit of (cough cough) my future husband.

The Girl Scouts have come a long way into modernization, and I seriously doubt there is still an award for making a good white sauce.   Or that you can earn points for vacuuming the Scout Leader’s home.  I think you have to know CPR now.  Much more useful for nuclear emergencies.

That motto though, it sticks with you.

A case in point:

Bella, Daisy and I got all dressed up and went out to dinner to celebrate our birthdays, which are reasonably close together.  Makeup, dresses, glitz and glamour.  (We love not recognizing each other.)  There were beautifully wrapped gifts topped with that lovely chiffon wire ribbon.  Mine was knotted, with a bow over it.  I couldn’t get the dang ribbon off to save my life.  There was a pause, then we all simultaneously start rummaging in our elegant handbags.


For our knives, of course.

Continue reading “The Girl Scout Motto: Part 1”

Chocolate Crisis #3,287

I gave Shaun her favorite chocolate for Christmas.

The current crisis: I’m trying to decide if I should replace the chocolate, since I ate it all.  I know, I know.  You’re all thinking “Jane!  Replace the candy, you ate the gift you gave her?”

Um.  Yeah.  All of it.

Why would I consider NOT replacing it?

You see, if I replaced it again, that would be…(counting)…the fifth time I’ve snuck in a replacement.  I’m trying to preserve the illusion that I wouldn’t dream of eating the gift I gave her.

Continue reading “Chocolate Crisis #3,287”