Impatience is a Good Thing…

…when it allows you to drop the reins, film your horse, and claim he’s being gentlemanly.

Open, closed, if it’s in his way, it bugs him. He’ll close the arena gate as we pass by if it was left open, and is blocking the line on the rail.

Oh Hudson, how I love thee!

Ah, Spring.

So far, this has incited Hudson into two jail breaks.

#1: After getting shoes. He has a most excellent farrier, Dane, who offered to return him to his paddock (probably so I’d stop hanging around trying to look busy, neither of them need me to be present) when done being shod.

I go to the feed store.

An hour later, Laurie spots them surreptitiously grazing in an inconspicuous spot quite close to their paddock. They think we won’t notice the lack of fencing in front of them. Laurie said both their attitudes were something like this: “No no, we’re fine. We’re supposed to be here.  Just grazing.  Near our paddock.  See? There’s a fence.”

#2: Bella steps out her back door in time to see Hudson pick the lock on the main gate, setting himself and Woodrow free.  This gate is closed with a horse-proof carabiner type clip. We still don’t know how he managed this feat.

I generally have to fuss with it to get it open. It’s a clumsy operation.

Hudson and Jane are back on the ouchy-achey road to fitness. Six weeks off of Real Riding might as well be a year for me.  I don’t have even half an Ab left. My inner thighs are sore from posting for ten minutes.

(Oh, the SHAME…I mean, um, it’s so, uh, good to be reminded of what beginning riders have to go through…)

You may  have to put up with less than stellar blogging as my brain takes the ouchy-achey road back to thinking…

(FYI, I missed you guys a LOT!)

In Which Jane Remembers Why the Real Horse is Better than the Dream Horse

Before Hudson, I would go to Tiny when I was upset, and he would “hug” me. If I stood at his neck or shoulder, he’d try to bend his head and neck to wrap around my body.  Tiny’s affection saved me often. If I hung on  him, he’d drop his head over my shoulder and pull me toward his chest by pulling his head back.  He was amazingly smart and intuitive, and very willing to share his boundless affection. Horses are all different, but my experience has been they “get” sadness, and try to help. (I may also be living in Black Beauty World.)

I leave the hospital determined to see Hudson.  A hug from Hudson will make it better.

Helplessness is not a  useful feeling for me.  It leads me right into Train Wreck Thinking: helpless goes to hopeless, hopeless goes to powerless, powerless goes to (?) I’m a terrible human being.

Yeah.  I don’t get it either.

The weather mirrored my emotional state: driving rain, erratic shifts in the direction of the wind, with low visibility.

By the time I got to the barn, my train wreck was in full dramatic rending and crashing.

I step out of the car. It’s freezing cold, and the storm seems to have intensified.  I fill the boy’s grain buckets, and hike up to their shelter. It’s unexpectedly cozy inside.  It’s only two and a half sides, but it’s quiet, dry, and wind-free.

I dole out buckets, and check under-blanket temperatures.  They’re fine.  Toasty.

I walk up to a chewing Hudson, and plunk my forehead on his shoulder. I sob.

Hudson looks at me with mild alarm:  Okaaaaay. 

He doesn’t move, but his body  weight shifts away from me.

Oh. I’m bugging him.  Maybe it’s  the weird forehead plunk? Surely he’ll comfort me.

I do a more normal thing: I stand at his shoulder and gently lean my shoulder against his. I want to crawl under his blanket. I continue to sob, leaning on him.

Hudson scoops a huge amount of grain into his mouth, so he can chew and consider me without having to reach down again.

“It’s just hard”, I say. “I have all these feelings.”

His ears swivel. Grain dribbles out of his mouth, and he tries to catch it with his lips: the big wad of grain remains safe behind his clamped teeth. Talented horse.

“I don’t want to keep bugging my friends”, I say, “and I can’t stop crying, I thought talking to you would help.”

Hudson doesn’t have a clue what I’m saying. But I am convinced horses can read our emotional intention.  I wait for my “hug”.

Instead, this happens:

Continue reading “In Which Jane Remembers Why the Real Horse is Better than the Dream Horse”

All I Want For Christmas…

…are things that don’t exist, but should.

I have everything I need, which thankfully coinsides with everything I want. Anna Blake did an awesome blog post on Thanksgiving for Christmas here.

  • Donkey Lending Library.

(Self explanatory to anyone who has ever met a donkey.)

  • Opinionated, talking, inanimate objects.

I feel this would be the fastest and most consistent way of having humor on an hourly basis. I would crack up if my fridge firmly clamped it’s doors shut the second I plunked groceries on the counter, and said “You’re not gonna put THAT in me, are you?! Nu-Unh. NO WAY.”

Life would become highly entertaining. Of course, this would have to come with a “mute” option, so we don’t get carted off to the hospital.

  • Magical carrot bags: impossible to empty, always fresh. (We have to have Hudson’s wish in here too.)
  • Horses should poop gold nuggets. Win-win.
  • Weather. Clicker.
  • Google App for the brain: Download a Skill.
  • If Congress refuses to work out an issue reasonably, everyone, on both sides, should have to wear a huge pointy party hat, polka-dotted, with streamers and uncomfortable chin elastic until it’s settled.  On TV.
  • Option to Reverse Retire: retire when young, energetic and fit, work when older, stiff, and wise enough to keep mouth shut.
  • FaceTime and Skype connectivity to Heaven. (Hi Grandma!!  Miss you!  How’s Mr. Chips?”)
  • Fairy Dust. Who doesn’t want fairy dust? Sprinkle on barn politics, broken cars, sad critters, one’s own brain: the list could go on and on.
  • The Argument Remote: pause, think, rewind, do-over, database access, and of course: mute.
  • Zen Vision Goggles with Zap capability: instant perspective for self, ability to zap others in need.

What’s on  your “should exist, but doesn’t”, wish list?

A Camping We Will Go…

Technically, it is possible for me to post from my cell phone. But I’m guessing anything more than a sentence or two would give me serious finger cramps. And some wild “auto correct” phrases. Add in: no idea if we will have a signal.

We’re going to be gone a few days.

FYI, in case TLH has a hidden burglar readership, we have an alarm, a house sitter, and we borrowed a pit bull that flunked out of dog training. Plus (sigh) we have nothing worth burgling. Don’t break the window, ask the neighbor for a key, and please do not put the milk carton back in the fridge after you drink out of it. You could dead head the roses while you’re here…?  (It would look less conspicuous, and they’d be pretty when we return!)

Hopefully we’ll have some silly stories to tell when we come back, that do not involve disaster calenders or office visits.  I’m seriously hoping my Skunk Karma has been resolved.

Please, to the skunks who read TLH, know I respect you, and would never, ever believe the ridiculous cartoon starring Pepe Le Pew represents you in any way…

(le giggle)

Property of Warner Brothers…

Happy Mother’s Day

My mom is 83.

I called her this morning, catching her right after she finished her morning swim, and before her walk.  After that, she was going to the library book sale, before heading over to my brother’s house for a late lunch, and Mothers Day celebration.

I believe I was still in bed.  Summoning up the energy to go take a shower. It was 8:30 am.

How does she DO that?

I love you, Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, whatever species your children are. I had a great Mother’s Day with my kids (all species) and Shaun.  Sort of a double mother’s day.

I texted Daisy to ask if it was okay to go visit Barbie and Murphy (don’t want to wear them out!) and she said it was fine. Once I was there, I saw he was knocked out, sound asleep beneath the hay rack, and Barbie was eating dinner. I’m wasn’t even going to open the door. I whisper a hello to Barbie, and rub her neck through the bars.  Daisy must have figured out the timing of when I’d arrive:  my text binged.

Daisy: Open the door.  Go in.  Squat down.  Make kissing noise.

Jane: Ok? …? He’s sleeping, but if he wakes up, I will?

Daisy:  Just do it. If he wakes up.


Murphy wakes himself up. Or Barbie knocks him with her leg.  Hard to tell.  He’s under her food.  I wait for him to get up, and for them to organize themselves with each other. Then I slide back the door and slip in, going to a far corner so they both feel safe.

Ha. Totally unnecessary.  Barbie gives up her food, walks over, and puts her head down for me to scratch under her mane behind her ears. Awwwww. When I don’t become tall again (to reach all the rest of her itchy, sore body), she mentally shrugs and turns back to eat.

Murphy is standing about 5 feet from me, looking at me with no fear or uncertainty.  He’s curious, but not aggressive.  I make the kissing noise.  Murphy walks forward on his little hooves, and places his muzzle gently against my mouth. (!!!)

He “kissed” me.

Happy Mother’s Day. Sniff…sniff…sniffle.

I’m not sure how it happened, but she and Molly were squatting down looking at him, and one of them make the kissing noise, and he planted one smack on the lips.

Who can resist that? I tell you, when he stole shyly up to me, and touched his muzzle to my lips, I nearly burst into tears. I was so touched.

We all know this is really REALLY bad, and Daisy texted me: “that ends next week“.  Totally right. What is adorable at 4 days old is a very bad idea 1,000 pounds, and a full set of teeth, later.

But I’m so glad I got that moment, and that Daisy texted me.  Thanks, Daisy. Completely made the perfect day PERFECT.

I visited Barbie and Murphy right after leaving Hudson. Barbie whuffled me up and down, breathing in his scent. It reminded me of being frisked for carrots.  I saw the bubble light up over her head: Hudson!

Murphy watched the pat down intently.  He walked up and started sniffing too. I’m sure he had no idea what interested his mom so much.

For reasons that I don’t understand, this made me very emotional.  I said, “Murphy, that’s your Uncle Hudson, and he loves you.”

I looked around to make sure there was no one else there.  Totally goofy thing to say. Can we say… “anthropomorphize”?

(But Hudson?  I DID tell him you were his Uncle.)

Mortal Illness, Entertaining, The Great Flood, and How I Managed to Not Get Electrocuted

(Apologies for the delay in programming: see title for instant explanation.)

I believe where we last left off, I was sick enough to volunteer for the Undead Hotline. Then Shaun got sick.  In another part of the country.  The kids got sick.  Shaun came home and we had a germ exchange program in place. You haven’t had this flu strain?  Oh here, let’s switch. The Three Stooges had nothing on us.  Seriously.

We warned our impending visitors (also family), but they figured it was okay, they’d already had all the strains this year.

I reviewed their itinerary when I got it, a few days before arrival.  Notice they are arriving at Wrong Airport in the town of Far, Far, Away, at midnight. Flurry of phone calls and transportation research.  Luckily, a genius family member (not me) figures out how to get the tickets changed to SFO, which is only two hours away.  Phew.

At this point, Shaun hasn’t entered the virus exchange program, so she can pick them up. Did I mention this fabulous trip to sunny California was a birthday gift to a family member who lives in the land of Eternal Snow?

It’s pouring rain.  Driving rain. Wipers on high, drive-slowly rain. It continues to rain at this intensity for the duration of their stay.  The sun finally whipped out into an insanely clear, blue sky just as I turn the ignition over in the car to take family on the two-hour drive back to the airport on departure day.

With their new best friends. Unfortunately, they were mistaken about which virus strains they’d had.

What better vacation than one that drenches you, infects you, and then sends  you home with individual, industrial-sized boxes of tissues?  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!


We’re a determined bunch. Despite the family propensity for car sickness, we do a driving tour of San Francisco (A few hills, a few turns, what’s the problem?), Highway 1 (a few hills, a few turns, what’s the problem?) and the giant redwood forest (ditto).

In between, we all collapsed in the living room, waited for our green tinges to subside, and watched coverage of the horrific devastation in Japan, where we have (luckily, as safe as one can be there now) relatives.

Did I mention Happy Birthday?

As soon as the terminal doors closed on them, the sky clouded over, and it rained. The ground is fully saturated.  There are mudslide warnings in some areas. I watched as the street drains became overwhelmed, until there was no where for the water to go.

Except…out of the street, across our lawn, and under our house.

This is how I ended up underneath our house, sneezing and coughing, sitting in 4 inches of water, holding an electrical cord in one hand, and a paper booklet of instructions on how to hook up a water pump. In Chinese. (Also, French, Spanish, and Italian.)

  • This is what I can say in:
  • French: you are stupid, and not very nice.
  • Spanish: hey, you want a tamale? Pork, chicken, or cheese?
  • Italian: my mother! Very good. Hello?
  • Chinese: Happy new  year!

I couldn’t find any of these phrases in my  booklet. Therefore, I felt totally incompetent.

I look at the diagrams. Hey! A phrase in English! Petroleum Jelly accompanied by red arrows pointing to a disassembled pump interior.

You have GOT to be kidding me.  I have to take the pump apart, put Vaseline inside, and put it back together to prime it?


Problem.  Two hands, one of which is holding electrical cord.  I toss the instructions onto the water, crawl/slosh out from under the house, unscrew the pump housing, and smear Vaseline inside. Put it all back together.  Hoses are already in place.  All I have to do is hook them up, place the pump, duct tape the bejesus out of the electrical cord to a high pipe, crawl/slosh out, and plug in the extension cord.

It worked!

Until the motor burned out on the pump. The one the hardware store assured us would be able to handle this volume of water.

Back to hardware store.

That was yesterday. Today? Sunny.  Blue sky.  A few scattered puffy white clouds. Spontaneous wading pool removed from foundation, and I’m not electrocuted.

It’s a miracle!

(And I missed you.)


How I Know I’m Recovering

  • I called my mommy.
  • I didn’t ask her to come take care of me.
  • I had to work to not ask an 83-year-old woman to drive 2 hours in a storm to tell me I would be fine.
  • I went bowling for Zombies.
  • My doctor told me I’m better. She said I should be able to breathe again in 7 to 10 days.
  • I can walk more than 8 feet.
  • I’m wondering if these pajamas make me look fat. I didn’t care 4 days ago.
  • I can be ten feet from the cough syrup without having an anxiety attack.
  • I can focus on the TV screen, even if the plot eludes me.
  • Yes, SpongeBob has plots.
  • I ran out of wheat thins.
  • When I’m better, I’ll tell you how that got me a free hotdog.
  • And caused a massive shopping cart pile up.
  • And turned two sane strangers into WWE style wrestlers, fighting above my prone body.

I wish I could say that is delirium talking, but it was just another day in my ridiculous life.


We Interrupt Our Programming…

I’m sick.  You know it: the memorize-the-wallpaper, breathe in/breathe out, don’t move, hurts everywhere, hot/cold, headache, sore throat, fuzzy brain sick.  Even killing Zombies on my cell phone is too taxing.

I love killing Zombies.

The true test?  I can’t look at even a photo of cake.  Yuck.  However, try to wrest this box of low fat wheat thins out of my grip and you die.  Tea.  Wheat thins.  Go figure.

The Huns went on a trip.  I have no one to take care of, so I get to feel delightfully, guiltlessly, sorry for myself, with a sliver of martyrdom, since there is no one to take care of me.

I have to make my own tea.  I have to open the box of wheat thins all by myself.  It’s too much for one person to tolerate.  I’m at my breaking point.  Even Christmas wants ME to get HIM his toys.

What is it about having the flu that turns one into a petulant five-year old? I have to resist the urge to call my mommy. I want to text everyone I know and whine. (Insert picture of Jane’s Dentist receiving text.) I can’t talk out loud without scaring myself.

I answered the phone.


“Sir, I’m so sorry. I have the wrong number” a familiar voice says.

“You don’t”, I say, “It’s me.” Not helpful.  “It’s Jane.”

“Jane? You sound like you’re six-foot six! You sound like a guy. Waaaaait a minute. Is this the Undead Hotline?”

“Serial Killers R Us”, I say, “but we have a problem.”


“Too weak to start the chain saw.”

I spent the last hour thinking about how much dazzling I could have produced, if only I had a BeDazzler.  Petulant. Five. Year. Old.  Aha!  Excuse to text Daisy.

Jane: we need a bedazzler

Daisy: true. why?

Jane: itty bitty foal blankets. Itty bitty bejeweled foal blankets.

Daisy: I ordered a suckling halter today. Smallest thing I’ve ever seen. So cute.

Jane: Focus. We could bedazzle halter.

Daisy: I want one.

Daisy: For real.

Jane: Me too.  For real.

It feels like I’m confessing to something insanely inappropriate.  I remind myself it’s not a questionable photo collection, it’s jewel encrustation. BeDazzler: now on gift list.

This is a blathery way of saying I’m calling in sick to the blog. Before I start to whine. If I call in sick, I haven’t wimped out on the postaday challenge.

It’s legal.




The Rope Smart Horse

Translation for the non-horsey: a horse that does not freak out when it’s dragging a rope, stepping on a rope, is accidentally whapped by a rope, or get it’s legs caught in a rope. The last being the most important: a horse that knows to stand completely still, not struggle when there is rope around its legs, and wait for you to bail him out.

Hudson is Rope Smart horse.  He’s also an Out Smart (Jane) horse.

I tote Dinero’s grain up to the paddock: I take Hudson out (or he’d muscle Dinero away and eat his happy meal), feed Dinero, and go catch up with Hudson.

“Taking Hudson out” is a euphemism for “throw the lead over his neck, point him at the open gate, whack him on the butt, and lock the gate after him”. Hudson usually makes it at least 3/4 of the way through the open gate before diving into the grass.  We average Jane standing behind Hudson with one hand on each butt cheek, shoving him forward (so she can close the gate) about 3 times a week.

Yesterday, he got all the way out of  the gate, leaving it closable, before diving happily into the new green grass.  I feed Dinero, and go to get Hudson, where he is greedily cropping grass.

Jane: Okay, H. Time to go.

Hudson: I’m eating.

Jane: I can tell.  You are going to stop eating.

Hudson: Mumph. I can’t.  I’m standing on my lead rope.

Continue reading “The Rope Smart Horse”