Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Holidays Are Here!

I had a really nice Thanksgiving weekend. It was full of family and ponies and good food.
I got to talk with family, eat, shop, sleep, and take a lot of pictures with the Nikon.

On a wet and dreary Thanksgiving morning, my mom brought her gelding Dusty in from the barn for a little ride.

Dusty had lots of kisses for my Papa.

I got to ride my auntie's smooth Missouri Fox Trotter gelding, King, for the first time.

I took a trip with my cousin Horse Dreams, the "man cub", and cousin Sares to see a tree lighting festival.

The man cub just wanted to run and play in the wet leaves with all the other children and not listen to the Christmas carolers, like us adults. I guess he doesn't understand the concept of "holiday spirit" yet.

Back home on Sunday, I got to see My Boy. I took him up to the arena to longe him, where he was absolutely wild and out of control.

Um, yea.

Afterward, Paint Girl (a.k.a. Arabian groom extraordinaire) showed me how to "body clip" his lower legs his fetlocks.

My Boy shows no sign of mud fever, but I thought I'd be preventative and get rid of that long hair that holds in the mud and moisture.

Paint Girl took her filly Chance up to the arena for the first time, and worked on some leading and backing.
We were wondering about Chance's size when she is full-grown......but I realized that in this picture, she looks huge!

It was a good, productive, yet relaxing weekend. I am finally listening to Christmas music and starting to feel the holiday spirit. It's taken longer to get here this year, for some reason. Now I've got to figure out a plan for holiday cards. I'm not sure I want to send them out this year....... are you going to send out cards? Do you send email cards or through the mail?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Days

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this, but when I was a child our family briefly had two turkeys. Mine was named "Salt" (he was white) and Paint Girl's turkey was Pepper (he was black.)

So I thought. The picture I drew when I was younger says that my turkey's name was "Wobbly." In the scrap book, I had taped in real feathers from Wobbly and Pepper.

By the way, those turkeys did not end up on our table. I don't think I could ever own a chicken or turkey, then end up eating it.

I probably wouldn't make a very good farmer.

I hope you are all enjoying this Thanksgiving holiday!

He who thanks but with the lips

Thanks but in part;

The full, the true Thanksgiving

Comes from the heart.

J.A. Shedd

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cat Tales

For some reason, off and on over the years, I have this "thing" with cats. I don't know what it is, but sometimes I swear if there is a cat anywhere within a mile radius of me that is in need of something, I tend to find it. Or maybe it finds me.

It started years ago, at my parent's former beach house. I heard a cat crying in the brush at the end of the driveway. It saw me, it kept crying. I could tell it wanted to come out of the bushes yet it was hesitant. Eventually, the lonely kitty, abandoned by the home's former owner, did come across the lawn to meet me. And I fed it dried dog food while my dad stood at the sliding glass window, shaking his head. Shortly thereafter, "Lily" the cat found her way into my parents' hearts and home because unfortunately, they are blessed with a deep love of all creatures great and small.

My mom calls Lily her "angel cat" and I have to tell you, if it wasn't for me and my persistence and a bowl of dampened dog food, I'm not so sure that cat would have found a family again.

Another time, I was dog sitting for a friend and woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a cat crying, a sad, desperate cry. There was a small strip of lawn and a fence that separated the town home I was in from a small apartment complex next door. I could hear the cat all night, even through closed windows. I was so frustrated. Why wasn't the person letting the cat in? Was it hungry? Cold?
Did the owner go on vacation and leave it out? The cat was still there the next day. I peered through the cracks on the fence and saw it on the doormat of one of the apartments. It seemed to know it lived there. I crawled through the landscaping at the end of the fence line and called the tiger-striped cat. It did come, but wouldn't let me pet it. I filled a Tupperware with water and food and hid it there. I noticed a sign on the side of the building with the landlord's phone number. The cat still hung around, and cried, all day. This was bothering me to no end. I felt bad for that cat. I made it my mission to figure out what was going on. I called and reported the cat crying. I was just trying to help. The landlord said she knew of the unit and would stop by and check it out. She did say that the tenant was not supposed to have a cat. Oops. I finished out the dog sitting job and never heard what happened to that cat.

Two summers ago, I had a strange visitor to my patio. A very masculine looking medium-haired gray striped cat with a bob-tail.

The cat would appear late in the afternoon, and just sit or lay on the warmth of my cement patio, staring out into the night as twilight set in.

Maybe the cat was hunting birds that flitted about the bushes. He'd come over and rub on my legs and let me pet him. He was well-fed and cared for. Even wore a collar, sporting a new one at some point in time. I never knew where he lived, which house he belonged to. I kept a bowl of water for him on the patio. One day, after this happening for several months, he just disappeared.

While driving around with family on a recent vacation, we drove down a dead-end road. We had been looking at houses that we'd lived in as children and were snapping pictures like the paparazzi. As we exited the street and stopped at the stop-sign, I saw a black cat appear in the ditch. It stopped to watch us and didn't move. I told my cousin to wait and I jumped out of the Suburban on a whim, Nikon in hand, crouching down low and calling the cat. The cat looked at me and did not run off. But it also did not want to meet me and it walked off down the ditch. The cat was beautiful, jet black with yellow eyes. I couldn't get a good focus on the eyes.

Halloween is over. But last week, on a stormy wet night, I got into my car to go to the grocery store. As I pulled away from the curb I saw a black cat streak across the end of my very busy street, towards entrance of my house. As I got to the stop-sign, I looked at the steps leading to my patio and the cat was standing on them, looking back at me. I quickly backed up my car back into it's parking space, pulled up my coat hood, and headed back out into the pelting rain to see where the cat had gone. It was no longer on the steps but as I walked up I saw it scuttle under the over sized azalea bush. I called it, here kitty kitty, which could hardly be heard over the sound of car tires on the wet pavement as they drove by. I bent down towards the bush and called again, and the cat leaped onto the wall surrounding that part of the yard and disappeared, probably to the sidewalk below, where it slunk off into the dark night. Avoiding the road, I prayed.

Many, many times, I have been told by people how surprised that their cat, which does not normally approach strange people, is not afraid of me, and, quickly becomes my friend.

My parents had a feral kitten that let nobody other than my parents touch or pick her up. Even though I visited my parents at their homes for weekends frequently in my twenties and early thirties, it does not explain the closeness I shared with that cat based on the little day-to-day contact I actually had with her. She would sleep in bed with me, sit on my lap, and let me pick her up and hold her.

What do you think it is with me and cats? I don't consider myself a "cat lady." I don't even have a pet cat. Why are we finding each other? I have some theories of my own. Have you ever had something pervasive like this in your life? A series of events, which separate, are just experiences- yet when you connect them dot-to-dot, perhaps some kind of meaning starts emerging out of them?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Thoughts About Twilight

I mean Twilight the book and movie. Not twilight, the time of day. Although I love that, too.

I hesitated admitting my obsession to the public.

Coming out of the coffin is not always easy.

However, I was thinking about it while driving home from work the other day. In it's own small way, Twilight has changed my life. Goodness, that is pretty profound. In some ways, it's probably for the worse. For example, do I really need body lotion scented like lilac, honey, and sun- the scent the author of Twilight described the vampire Edward smelled like? Um, well, yes I do. It smells really good. Hmmmm....I wonder if the name "Sponge Bob Square Pants" was on the bottle, if I still would have bought it?

New Moon sweetheart treats from another Twilight fan, Patches at her Furry Four Legged Kids blog. Thank you, thank you for the treats!!

I was a late bloomer to the Twilight saga. I had never even heard of the young adult novels when a friend and I went to the movies one night and randomly decided to see Twilight, mostly based on the hype we'd heard in the media.

The movie was unique and mesmerizing from the get-go, and different that the romantic comedies or blockbusters I typically saw. Shortly thereafter, I purchased the book.

My infatuation still didn't really kick up until last spring. I finally finished that first book (slowly) but whipped through the next three in the series within a month and a half. I bought the DVD. The full-on obsession hit me out of nowhere. The movie really brought the characters to life for me. I have not felt this way about anything in the pop culture least not since I was a teenager.

So, what has Twilight done for me? Let me count the ways.

1. The series has made me re-appreciate trees. I know, how bizarre is that. The books take place in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, they take place in a town (Forks) that I lived in for a short while during my childhood. My cousins lived there for several years after we moved, so we continued to visit them there. When the book speaks of rain, trees, and ferny woods, I get it. The setting for these books makes me appreciate green, moss, rain, fog, and puddles more than I ever thought I could. Those of you that remember this post will get a chuckle out of that. That's my point- I appreciate what I have again. Trees are cool! Hug a tree. You never know what could be lurking in them. Vampires? Mutant monkeys?

The above dazzler-in-the making is my second cousin, the "man cub." You can see more creatively edited pics of this pint-sized charmer on my cousin's blog, Loveleigh Treasures.

2. Its inspired me to start writing again. I have written off and on for many years, and have always found the genre of young adult work particularly interesting to me. Now, all kinds of creative ideas are swarming in my head....

Move over Bella! Edward has eyes for Pony Girl..... alas, well one thing is for sure....she only has eyes for him.

3. Romantic notions. Okay, funny thing- but one of the reasons why Twilight has been such a hit, with fans, women in particular of all ages, is the romantic notion of the "perfect man." Edward embodies the perfect man. He is strong, loyal, devoted,and forever. He would kill or give his life to protect Bella. He's beautiful. He respects her. Given, he's a too little intense at times....I prefer a guy with a bit more of a sense of humor.

4. The bonds that form. I can not tell you how many people I ran into, and keep meeting, that love, love, love this series! We talk about the Cullens and Swans and Blacks like they are real people. It is a common, instant bond. On a weekend adventure with some cousins, we totally immersed ourselves in all things Twilight. It was indulgent and wonderful. Yes, we even took pictures with cardboard cut-outs.

Yes, I am 38 years old.

5. This series rekindled a love of reading. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't ever read books. Honestly though, most of my reading in the past two years has been online~ blogs and the like. I really rarely picked up novels anymore. Now, I have a stack of 5 that I'm reading. All at once.

6. Movies don't have to be gory. While Twilight the movie (and the books in the series) do have some violence, they are not filled with gratuitous blood or gore. Less is more. That's my theory and I'm stickin' with it. Sometimes, what you don't show or say, or how you say it, can craft better imagery. The fact the movie and the books are not filled with blood-dripping fang-tooth demon vampires, yet are still liked by so many, speaks volumes to the kind of entertainment many of us are happy to view.

I realize that I probably won't love the Twilight saga at this intensity forever. Some day I will chuckle and say, remember when I thought I was going to marry Edward and that Paint Girl's dog might be a werewolf? Nah. However, I do think a few positive things have come out of this series for me. And for that, I'm a grateful Twilight fan.

The latest movie installment in the Twilight saga, New Moon
opens tonight at midnight.

I won't be seeing it tonight at midnight.

My 38 year-old body craves it's sleep a little too much for that.

Never fear, I do already have tickets to see it Friday night.

As Edward says to Bella and I'll say to you.....

Be safe.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Walk With Bailey

Saturday morning was cold. After scraping thick frost off of my windshield, I drove to the Painted Creek for a late morning farrier appointment.

After My Boy was reshod, I turned him out to finish his morning hay. My hands were cold and Paint Girl's OH has started a fire in the woodstove, but I wasn't ready to head inside just yet.

I grabbed the Nikon and took a walk around the property. Bailey, my- er- Paint Girl's dog, always takes walks on the property with me. Typically, he cavorts off into the meadow or woods here and there, on a secret mission of his own.

The big meadow was nothing but decaying grass, heavy with melted frost and littered with deer droppings. I trod through it in my muck boots, unsure I'd find anything interesting to photograph. Admittedly, I didn't see anything with my naked eye, but knew that along with a long-awaited visit with my horse, a crisp autumn walk was just what I needed to unwind from a few very busy weeks.

Then, I stumbled upon these fabulous fungi. I noticed a lot of mushrooms are growing around the Painted Creek these days. Thanks to a record setting amount of rain this autumn, I presume.

What does Bailey see? A deer? I do not know. We continue on.

The once green and toxic bracken fern is now brown, but still standing strong.

Bailey likes to hide in their tall stems, as he continues his stalking mission. He sees something again.

Could it be my pony finishing his hay in his pasture?

Beautiful, brown stained alder tree leaves catch the overcast light and you know me, I can't help but photograph a few.

Always on the hunt for some bokeh.

Here comes Bailey, running alongside the arena. Ready to keep walking, Pony Girl?

We continue on the backside of the arena, and down along the mare's pasture. We stop along the fence between the two pastures to toss some apples inside.

Within seconds of hearing the crinkle of the Ziploc, a fuzzy Appaloosa muzzle with a snip finds them.

We walk wander into the yard, where I spy hydrangeas, a delightful blend of lavender and blue hues. Goodness, how exciting to find a splash of color left from summer, amongst all the green and brown.

The guest room! I have not stayed in it recently.....I'll have to remedy that. I miss Paint Girl's OH's cooking. There trots a golden horse statue in the window.

I cross the lawn, where I let My Boy graze for a bit after his visit with the farrier. More mushrooms. Look closely, you might notice a few Aussie hairs on these ones. I am always amazed at the details my camera captures when I download photos! {click on photos to enlarge.}

Oops. Looks like Paint Girl's OH left these boots outside a little too long. That happens around these parts.

I hope you enjoyed this chilly November walk with me and Bailey!

Bye bye, Bailey. See you next weekend! I'll be getting hay. Which for some reason, always seems to make you so happy, seeing that truck of hay you want to jump up on!

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Specs For Autumn

What I love about the fall season is how it forces you to really look at it through a different lens. To find beauty in even the wettest, most annoying, frustrating parts of it.

Like the muddy muck boots.

And My Boy's dirt-caked hooves.

And biting wind blowing through my hair and my pony's mane......

........while threatening the cedar trees holding on tightly to their branches, hoping to keep them from becoming scattered bones at their base.

Each leaf is a piece of art.

Even those that fall and stick onto everything in the yard.

Each watery ditch a cacophony of colors.

Each Rhododendron-munching Aussie a bundle of autumn energy.

Bundle your autumn energy.

Find beauty in the little things, despite the darkness, the wetness, and the mud. Oh, the mud.

Cherish the mud.

hee hee.

Happy Friday the 13th! I have never been happier to see a weekend arrive!
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