Archive for September, 2008

September 29th, 2008

» time flies

Last week on the evening news there was a story about a dog who’d lost 32 pounds in 5 months. My first feeling was one of faint shame and inadequacy: if a dog can do it, why am I struggling with these 10 pounds? And then I thought further; if I had someone to apportion my food at specific times of day and to force me to exercise, I probably wouldn’t have any trouble either. It’s not like the dog woke up one day and said Okay, I’m going to get fit! and then started doing daily doggy calisthenics.

A confession: I’ve had this ‘Write Post’ tab open in Firefox for almost a week now, with just the lone prior paragraph. Which is to say that I am lazy, which circles exactly around to my original problem. Anyhow, this morning I got up early and exercised. It was hard, but less hard than I expected. Just one more advantage of not believing in the snooze button: you are exercising before you really wake up enough to catch onto what you’re doing to yourself, and by then it’s too late — you’re wearing the clothes so you might as well lift weights for the next 45 minutes.

Another thing I’ve been meaning to write about but keep not: I adore my new riding instructor. I read this article about Principals of Good Training a little while three weeks ago. The author is talking about how to evaluate instructors, and says:

I suggest to them that they observe a lesson AT ANY LEVEL and decide if, at the end, the horse is MORE:

  1. willing
  2. responsive
  3. round
  4. symmetrical
  5. self-carrying
  6. self-propelled (forward)
  7. relaxed TO ANY DEGREE

I have, happily, been able to say YES to all of those questions after all of my lessons so far. I just really love riding with Jodi. I am so, so much better when I ride with her, and — on and on.

I’ve had a couple good rides lately, and a really great one yesterday. G and I trailered our ponies to Lake Maria State Park and spent two and a half or three hours (we forgot to check the time when we got there) wandering the trails. It’s a really gorgeous park, the trails winding through the woods with occasional glimpses of the few lakes scattered throughout. The colors are starting to turn, and the weather was just right — it was overcast all day, which was perfect for jackets, and which must’ve kept most people away from the park because we saw only one other horse and a handful of hikers the whole time we were out. Ev was awesome — he took turns leading, and while he’s slower and on alert out front he does it without much fuss. It was great to take turns, giving him opportunities to be brave and chances to relax. It’s a pretty hilly park, and Ev got his first experience with psuedo-stairs on a particularly steep downslope (we actually wondered if we’d somehow gotten off the horse trail, but we hadn’t); it didn’t phase him at all. He was a superstar all day, and I think (hope) it’s gone a long way in repairing some of my frayed nerves after our bucking incident in the back field, and our park bench incident this spring.

It was just a really great day, one that reminded me how lucky I am in this life. To have this Sunday in late September, these trees going all orange and red, these quiet winding trails; to be this girl with her horse in the woods in the fall. Watching the leaves drift down and thinking forward, imagining myself an old woman on a front porch watching leaves fall and thinking back.

September 22nd, 2008

» Egypt

I have great faith in the universe, and so believe that my mom will probably never read this article or another like it. Because I really want to go to Gilf al-Kebir on my Egypt trip (tentatively scheduled for 2010 — just don’t tell my boss).

Must start researching.

September 12th, 2008

» good things

I am, sadly, back from Maui, and hoping to get some time this weekend to gather pictures and videos to share, so we can all mourn together that we aren’t ankle-deep in white sand, snorkeling with fishies and turtles, or cavorting after guava in the rainforest. I’m a bit of a maverick vacationer and without just these right circumstances (an unbelievable deal on the condo, thanks to Bryce; my mom’s life-long dream) I probably never would’ve made it to Hawaii, and I would have totally missed out. It was another dream trip, another once-in-a-lifetime, and I feel so blessed to have shared this time with my family (among whose number we all count you, Bryce, in case you haven’t realized).

While I was away, autumn evicted the last traces of summer here in Minnesota. It’s been a tough week to return to, all chilly and grey, early dark, and I’ve found myself feeling a little surly about a season I usually love. But last night I was seized by this sudden need to cook, to make something hearty, something spicy, and I pulled out a bag of dried beans and my favorite Indian cookbook. A little while later I stood over the sink plucking steamy kidney beans out of the colander, fresh from the pressure cooker, and I resolved once again to ban canned beans from my cupboard. If you’ve never made your own beans, you’re missing out! They are a different creature entirely, so creamy and delicious, so themselves; you don’t know it now but canned beans have this edge of can-taste, this cloying sweet chemically hint, and after having fresh(-from-dried) beans you will always be a little sad about the taste of canned. (Of course I’ve made this resolution a dozen times at least and I always end up using canned sometimes because, I know, it’s just so easy! Especially in dishes where they’re not the main component, or where they’re masked by delicious chili-taste. But if you like beans in your salads, and you should because mmm, take the extra time to treat yourself.)

Er — so I ended up making this curried kidney bean dish, with lots of spice (dried red pepper, cumin, coriander, etc) and ginger and tomato, and it was completely delicious, which is good because I have more, a lot more, in my fridge, along with the rice I made to go alongside it. I almost never make rice at home (I’m usually too lazy for rice) and dude, rice fresh out of the pan? So. Good. I kept snacking on bits of the cooling leftovers.

Anyway! When I started this post it was not to tease you about my vacation, or ramble on about dinner, but rather to share this funny and spot-on bit from an article about Johnny Depp’s newest film (it’s animated, to put it in context, though feel free to imagine it aaany way you like):

The movie will realize the dreams of thousands (nay, millions) of women worldwide as it casts Depp in the role of household pet. He’ll go on an adventure to discover his true self — which, I think, involves discovering he is Johnny Depp, commander of women.