Why Horses Wednesday: Gilt Gams

This episode of Why Horses? Wednesday is sponsored by grateful significant others everywhere.

I am at the barn so much that I become invisible to the non-riders, the way the aisle-way muck bucket becomes invisible: it fades into the background: always there, occasionally out of sight, but nothing to bother thinking about.

Hang on.

Did I really just compare myself to a bucket of poop?  Great.  There goes the Pulitzer.

Continue reading “Why Horses Wednesday: Gilt Gams”

All Saints Day

The memorial service for my dad was on Sunday.  He had a great sense of humor: it didn’t escape any of us that the only day it worked for everyone to be at his memorial/funeral was All Saints Day. I’m sure it didn’t escape Dad.

My mom said to me on the phone: “Well…they say you elevate your spouse to sainthood after they die.  Your husband dies and suddenly he’s a saint.  I suppose it’s appropriate Dad’s official induction into sainthood is Sunday.”

My dad loved to barbeque.  He loved a block party.  One Saturday morning when I was around 10 or so, I woke up to the sound of him digging a hole in the middle of the backyard.  I immediately looked for the dog: you’re a kid, there’s a hole, you have animals, you worry.  Even at 10, it struck me as odd the grave would be smack in the middle of the grass in the backyard.

The dog was fine.

He was digging a pit for the pig.

We didn’t own a pig.


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A Walk in the Park

This Episode of TLH brought to you by sheer exhaustion and Shaun

She not only finagled a friday off work, but thoughtfully spent that day surprising me with a trip to one of my favorite places on earth.

Come on!  We’re going over the Golden Gate bridge (yes it really is that pretty), into San Francisco, to The Japanese Tea Garden.  It’s the perfect time of year to be in San Francisco.  Mark Twain wasn’t kidding. Fall: cobalt blue skies, warm breeze, 70 degrees, no humidity.  Tourist season is over, so it was us and the fall gardeners busy with winter pruning.  The women in the ticket both inspected Shaun and I, and pronounced us “locals”, and would not take the regular entrance fee, even when we told them we didn’t live in San Francisco.

Spring is the Tea Garden’s big splashy drama.  Fall is subtle: one’s focus is drawn to the beautiful structure of the garden, rather than the impossible explosion of cherry and plum blossoms.  Why do I love it so much?  I’ve been going since I was a kid.  As formal tourist-attraction gardens go, it’s tiny.  But it’s magic.  I can’t move six inches without seeing the a completely different vista, a slightly changed focal point, a new frame for a changed picture.

Okay.  And there are Koi.  And Gen Mai tea that never tastes as good when brewed at home. And a small plate with three perfect squares of moochi.  I’m seven again.

A stream winds through the grounds, maybe six to eight inches deep in most spots, with deeper hiding spots for the Koi.  The water is perfectly clear.  I skipped immediately to the stream: where are my Koi?  The way I feel about Koi is the same way I felt about a pony as a child.  My grandmother had a Koi pond, with some very old, very tame (read: demanding) Koi, that came to me for food, and to be stroked.

Unlike most horse-struck girls, I was going to have a pet pony AND a giant fish.

Without a ladder, it’s difficult to photograph the vistas from the narrow twisting paths: I focused instead on getting the feeling, rather than the view.

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While Shaun was in her meeting, I wandered around the concourse between the De Young Museum and Academy of Sciences.  Maybe that will be our next monday mini photo vacation!

They’re Baaaaaack…

The troops returned over the weekend. I was the mom bouncing up and down at the exit, wildly waving her arms  at anyone who, at a distance,  even remotely looked like my family.  The security guards shifted uncomfortably and exchanged glances, thinking about closing in.  My family showed up in the nick of time, complete with teenage how-could-you-embarrass-us-like-this  faces.  That’s enough anti-terrorist reassurance to make even an international airport guard drift away.

I welcomed home 3 people and their house guests.  Unfortunately, they’d been spotted as possible petri dishes by evil little colds.  Eviction is going to take a militarily-strict timetable of cough medicine pouring, pill handing, temperature checking, and lap holding.

Let’s hope the evil colds do not figure out I’m unoccupied territory and jump ship.

Christmas was so excited he ate something we may need to retrieve through xrays and veterinary intervention.  We’ll know in 24 hours.

No cries of:

MommmmmmmI can’t find my [fill in the blank], I think I left it [on the plane, at Aunt Teebees, in the rental car]. Do we hafta have [fill in the blank] for dinner…again?

I was so ready to whip out my Super Hero Finder Cape, and plunge headlong into the hazardous waste content of suitcases and carry on’s, and find the absolutely completely and totally gone… FOR SURE this time [fill in the blank].

Freedom is over-rated.  Superhero-dom, ruckus, eye rolling, hysterical giggling, snuggling, and cranky remarks…ah.  Home.

Virtual Vacation

This episode of Virtual Vacation brought to you by:

Last Minute Trip Panic Incorporated

Please hold. Blogging equivalent of Muzak to follow


Milestone graduation for the kids and treat vacation trip.  In our house, this means three people standing around (hours before departure) yelling I can’t find my… {fill in blank}.

I’m the official I Can Find It person.  It’s my job.  Oddly, I don’t mind this at all.  I can pretty much find anything.  Me and St. Anthony are tight.  Of course, in this house, it’s pretty easy.

Mommmmm…I can’t find those pants!!

Easy. I know which pants Those Pants are, and find them in her pillowcase.

Honey, I can’t find my favorite T-shirt, the brown one with the stuff on it?  It’s totally gone!

Easy.  In her T-shirt drawer, under the blue T-shirt

Mommmmmm…I LOOKED.  I can’t find my DVD player ANYwhere.  I think someone stole it.

Slightly harder.  Turns up in the file cabinet.

Read up on Chaos Theory (so you can explain it to me) while I post some eye muzak for us all!  All photos of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Tualome Meadows

Hetch Hetchy Resevoir

rock puzzle 8000+ feet

Tenaya Canyon

Interesting note: there is no dirt at this height.  You’re looking at sheer rock.  Yup, the trees grow up out of the rock.  Cool, huh?

The Poetry of Marriage

This Episode Brought to You Courtesy of

The Kentucky Derby

I may be the only horse person in the country who forgot to watch the Kentucky Derby.  Who, uh, forgot it was even this weekend.  (Or I wouldn’t have posted the goofy jockey video.  Bad timing.  Sorry racing fans.)

Shaun is currently at work in one of the U.S. swine flu states, trying to get some business protocol in place in case.  We’re not currently in the same time zone.

I’m used to being stumped by Shaun’s texts, emails, and messages.  She believes in extreme editing.  It’s minimalist art for her.  Get your message across in the least amount of words possible.  I’m convinced she thinks I’m psychic.

Where I’d use 600 words to fill you in, she would use 2.  (I know, I know.   I could use some of that.)

I’ve learned to fit the entire contents of an email in the Subject Line.  Otherwise, she won’t read it.  It’s kinda fun, in the way a puzzle you’re not good at is fun.  Would you understand this if it came with a blank email?

RE: m hairline arm tree  SMHER  fine  call LL, not fine

Continue reading “The Poetry of Marriage”

Dont’ Wake Me Up When It’s Over

The sofa is barren, the walls have been wiped down, the Easter Bunny cried long and hard over his rejection by teens too grown up to receive jelly beans, and Shaun has managed, with the help of WD-40, to pry the kitchen utensils from my hands.

In turn, I’ve managed to cut the steering wheel out of her death grip, and held an intervention to make her remember she married me, not the grill.  (Or Angelina Jolie.)

Christmas has found every item we didn’t know we lost (yet) and thoughtfully put it in the trash (read gnawed it to oblivion and hid it somewhere).  Every item we know we lost is still missing. It’s another one of those laws of physics.

We had a decent nap an inspiring sermon in church yesterday, and the kids went to artfully accessorize the reclinable surfaces in front of Aunt Lolly’s TV.

There is no chaos.  Nothing is moving. The sun is shining.  Horses are waiting.  It’s downright spooky.

There is a faint, slightly sinister sound emanating from the 5th or 6th overflowing laundry basket.  Quite possibly something has sprung – living – from the primordial soup in one of the kid’s rooms, and it will probably get me.  If so, I thank you for your kindness, and I bid you farewell.  It’s been a good life.

If not, how can you do 3 loads of laundry a day, and still end up with LAUNDRY?  Well we did have a day at the beach.  That would account for at least 4 loads.  And the slightly tropical feel of the flooring.  (Isn’t that a nice spin on sand on every surface?  Can you tell I’m trying to justify leaving the whole mess and going riding?)

I only ate 6…okay 10…well maybe 14 double stuffed Oreos.

Fine.  It was half a box.  I had to keep my blood sugar up for the sake of the children.  I’m actually very selfless.

I’ll be comparing riding breech waist sizes to see which ones are the largest before I even THINK about putting them on.  I can already imagine the OOFs I’m gonna get when I hit the saddle.

I  had time to text Daisy last night:

J: What are you doing?

D: Favorite: slasher videos…total clicker control.  Heaven.  You?

J: Nothing.  I think I hear the sound of myself thinking.

D: Really???

J: Kids are at Aunt Lolly’s.  Only random ones left, and I can shoo them home to parents.

D: What are you eating then?!

J: Who says I’m eating??  Fine.  All the candy they were too old for this year.  2 baskets, no takers.  Too much?

D: Stopppppppppppp!!!!  Did you toss the Oreos?

J: Well…

That’s about when my phone rang, and I got verbal intervention to pack up the last of the treat foods.  Daisy stayed on the line while I  snagged a kid off the street, and stuffed two grocery sacks of junk food and (sob) Easter candy into his very surprised little hands.  I’m sure his mom is grinding her teeth at me from behind closed doors and polite proclamations of isn’t that nice of them.

We’re such good neighbors.

FTF: Going Native

It’s French Toast Friday!

Being biologically half Native American, I’ve always been interested in tribes that kept horses.  My ancestors lived in the woods and were big on fishing and birch bark canoes.   I never heard a word about horses.    Talk about bad luck.  I was lucky enough to be born Indian, which I (wrongly) considered an almost guaranteed entree into the cowboy/horse world.  (Curse you, Lone Ranger.)

Vaguely knowing there was no latent ancestral horse wisdom to tap into didn’t stop me from being convinced, as a child, that all living Indians had horses.  Good grief, even all the TV Indians had horses! The way I saw it, I was entitled to at least a pony, because darn it,  I was at least half Indian.   What’s the closest thing to half a horse?  A shorter horse, duh.

Why couldn’t we just line the bathtub with newspspers (instant stall with drain) and let the pony mow the grass in the backyard during the day…free food, no mowing.  What’s the problem?

My grandmother took me fishing.  Sigh.  I learned to FISH.  In the ocean.  Great.  What is the point of being Native American if you can’t have a dang horse?  Pointless, pointless, pointless.

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