Archive for July, 2008

July 29th, 2008

» getting out

Yesterday my office played hooky; we snuck out mid-morning to head up to my boss’s cabin. We spent the day on the lake, playing on the jetski and cruising in the pontoon, drinking and fishing, having a nice leisurely dinner, setting off fireworks. The weather was entirely perfect, sunny and 80′s. I could easily envision the rest of life in a sleepy little cabin on a forest-hugged lake. Just mix in some family, some horse, and I’m there.

Sunday Ev and I had a great time at our clinic. We accomplished Goal #1 (stay on the horse). There were actually no other formalized goals, but really I was going for a safe, positive experience, and we definitely had one. He was excited when we got there, and it’s a little hilarious for me watching the video back because he felt so up to me, all animated, looking at everything — and in the video he looks totally calm. So I think partly it’s that I’ve gotten used to riding him in total surfer-dude/half-asleep mode, and partly that our few previous crashes have left me a bit rattled and every time he takes a look at something I’m half expecting him to leap and take off in some unexpected direction (which is kind of unfair to him because while he is a baby, overall he’s a pretty laid-back guy). So mostly I was the more nervous of the two of us at the clinic.

We rocked it, though — we did our first: pile of poles, crossrail, little log, bigger little log, baby ditch(es), up-bank, up-bank to up-bank, down-bank, bridge crossing, water time, etc etc. My group was split up at the beginning — which worked really well, since there were two of us out for the very first time and two with more experience — but one of my new barn buddies caught a little video in the beginning and mid-way through when we were back in the same field. We shall speak not of my position (a nine year break from jumping does not, I can report, improve your form over fences), but look instead upon the Boo’s calm willingness, and imagine the eventers we will one day be:

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July 25th, 2008


Y’all, this last week has been a trial. I don’t want to talk about the bad stuff, though, because the world is full of people who are kind and generous and good at heart, and the rest of ‘em are just not worth it.

So, you ask, the good stuff? On Wednesday I had a mini spa visit and afterwards stopped in this home decor store on a whim, lured by many, many large SALE signs. They actually had a lot of stuff I liked (the influences often seemed to be Asian and a touch Victorian and somewhat fairytale, which is a really inadequate description), and surprisingly good prices (especially given they’re in a pretty expensive shopping center). After a little hemming and hawing I picked up some framed art from the clearance section (four carved wood panels, each about a foot square), thinking it might fit a blank space in my bedroom. I’ve been meaning to buy some colorful fabric to stretch & staple over frames for that area, but for the price (and knowing how much longer my original plan could take) I couldn’t really go wrong. (So much for budgeting this month.) When I got them home I — well, okay, I went immediately to bed because it was almost 11 — but the next morning I propped them up along the back of my couch, eyeballed it, and decided they’d look perfect in that space. Which is fabulous because I’ve been kicking around ideas for that big blank spot forever and hadn’t yet hit on one I was totally thrilled with.

Other good stuff: tomorrow is Alex’s birthday party; he’s turning three. It’s amazing how time flies. I’m making his cake (and really need to get a frosting recipe chosen). And Sunday is my jumping clinic and the big move.

A week or two ago my cherry tomatoes finally started to ripen, and most days I find a moment to stand out on my balcony, eating one or two straight off the vine and watching the weather. Two days ago there was afternoon light so warm and unbelievable I felt I could fall right over the railing into a painting. This morning the most delicate of rain, a whispering mist of summer grey.

July 18th, 2008

» up & onward

So yesterday I sent in my entry form for a cross-country jumping clinic that’s being held a week from Sunday. After I dropped it in the box I figured I should, you know, try my horse over a few fences before taking him.

Last night I put out two cavalletti to lunge him over. If you’re wondering, cavalletti look something like this. The barn has nice sturdy wooden ones, which is good because Ev is a bit of a pole killer. I started at the lowest height — just groundpoles — to get him warmed up. Then I bumped one up to the middle height. When he was comfortable with that, I switched the other to the highest. Even at their highest they’re quite low — he could easily walk over them. Perfect baby stuff.

He loved it. He was very engaged, ears up, and nicely forward. The last time around he got his striding perfect to the higher pole and gave just the cutest little jump over it. I’d originally planned to ride him after the lunge work, but it was beastly hot and I was just so happy with his effort that I stopped him right there and made a gigantic fuss over him. He looked very proud of himself.

Around lunchtime today I was hit with this total excitement to go back out there tonight. Six months ago that wouldn’t've been remarkable, but the change in atmosphere at the barn this summer has robbed me of a lot of my oomph. I’m relieved to feel that passion again.

July 18th, 2008

» weekend deliciousness

A brief not-so-brief & awesome summary of my awesome weekend:

Get up unconscionably early on Saturday for an airport pick-up. Leave home a little earlier than usual, as the last three or four times the flight was early; halfway down the hall from my apartment think to go back for a book, since I’m surely jinxing things leaving at such an hour. Arrive and park by the curb’s absolutely-no-parking,-unloading-only! sign and read a bit. Read a bit more. Read a while longer. Finally get out the cell and spend a while puzzling over Sun Country’s website. Finally find the bit where it says the flight’s an hour late. Triumph over having brought the book at least; read some more.

Breakfast at Al’s, where the surly waitress is working the front grill again. When our supposed-to-be dry wally blues are up she sets the plate in front of us, steamy blue-y cakes with a big globe of melting butter on top; after double-checking our order slip she grabs a napkin and plucks the butter off. During my last two bites I realize there are sadly no walnuts in these wally blues. Still, I forgive Al’s this, as the previous eggshell incident, and the pancakes-tasting-like-bacon incident. I love Al’s.

Back at my apartment we pause for ginger carrot cake, then head out to Buffalo to watch the girls from my barn show. Friday they made a great hue and cry about the idea of us not coming, so here we are. The show is moving unbelievably fast, and we are there only long enough to share out half the remaining cake and watch three classes. We make the trek eastward once more.

After a stop for lunch (hummus wrap! cool-oretto!) we spend a delirious time in Target loading the cart with clearanced toys, then head to the rodeo, where we meet up with my parents, Alex, and Peyton. The rodeo is wonderful: bronc and bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing. Alex loves it and at intermission and after the show is over he spends an alternately serious and ecstatic while sitting in each of the five tractors on display, twisting the steering wheels and jiggling all the levers. We try to interest him in the wee adorable cowboy hats; he wants to try on a few of the pink ones but mostly wants to go back to the tractors for lever-jiggling.

We retire to my apartment to unpackage our toy-loot, then head to my parents’ for dinner and baby-holding. Afterwards we return home and play an endless game of Pirateology. We head to bed at a not-unconscionable hour and then stay up discussing improvements for the game’s rules.

* * *

I’ve been writing this since this past Monday (July 14). It’s waving it’s little ‘Send Help!’ flag — if I don’t post it now, I never will. So, actually brief this time: Sunday was equally awesome, and involved a trip to the Wienery (LOVED it) for veg hot dogs and fresh-cut fries and a root beer float, then a stop by Fast and Furless to get vegan marshmallows (they exist in Minneapolis!) and a vegan s’more-thing (Bryce contends that because it had chocolate around the outside instead of on the inside it doesn’t count as a s’more, so we didn’t actually eat three). Then over to the Walker for their outdoor exhibits: art mini golf and Design for the Other 90%; both received thumbs up from us. Back home we tested and approved our new Pirateology rules (so much better than the rules-as-written), and also set my smoke detector off roasting marshmallows over my stove. So worth it. And we only set it off a little, and quickly devised a fan scheme that’s been worked beautifully since then. Then failed to install 11th Hour on my computer and installed Omikron instead. I have no idea why I never made it past the first ten minutes the last three times I tried to play it, because it was really fun. Then again, maybe it’s all in the company.

July 10th, 2008

» made

Yesterday was my grandma’s birthday, and after my last Lasik follow-up (“You should continue to see better than 20/20,” said the doctor, and, “Your corneas couldn’t look better; really, they couldn’t look any better. Someone might not even know you’d had surgery.”) and a quick Ev visit, I went to her place to meet up with the rest of my fam for presents and pie.

Now, I am not the sort of girl who gets approached on the street, or gets much in the way of comments-on-physical-attributes at all. Down in Ft. Lauderdale we couldn’t go two blocks without my friend getting looked over, called to, offered drinks; a shabby guy roaming the sidewalks offering caricatures for a dollar gave us his patter and after being politely refused started to step away, did a double-take, and said to her, “God, you are beautiful!” My point being, that kind of stuff just doesn’t happen to me.

Last night I was waiting for the elevator and an older gentleman stepped over and said, “You know, I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’m 73 years old. I’ve been looking at women my whole life, and honey, you have great legs. I mean it.” And it wasn’t at all lecherous or anything, it was just very kind, a man who’d lived long enough to be able to say that sort of thing frankly. It totally made my day. (And, now that I think about it, the second time someone at my grandma’s has complimented me like that. The first time was almost four years ago to the day, and sixty-some pounds ago.)

My day was made over again a few hours later when I checked my voicemail, and discovered I’d missed a call from the owner of the stable I went to look at last month. A call saying they have a pasture spot opening up. I literally danced through the entire message. Ev and I are moving at the end of the month.

Y’all, life is good.