Saturday, December 31, 2011

Brrr-ringing in the New Year

The New Year is arriving on the tail end of strong winds! 




We are looking forward to a wild mild New Year's Eve celebration....
If we're lucky, we'll stay up to watch the ball drop in New York, which we can see at 10:00 PM our time!
After that, we'll celebrate, behind closed lids and dream of the year to come!

May it bring prosperity and peace and health and happiness to us all!

Shutting the Barn Door After....

Hubby to Dreaming: Honey, did you shut the gate to the pasture?

Dreaming to Hubby: Hmmmm, I'm not sure. Why do you ask?


Doc to Pippin: I think we better get outta here.

Pippin to Doc: I got your back.


Doc to Pippin: Somehow I get the feeling that we're not welcome in here.

Pippin to Doc: Why do they always get all the good stuff?!



Friday, December 30, 2011

Sheave Peeve

There was hay in Pippin's stall in the morning. 
Unheard of, absurd! 
Hay in a Haflinger's stall after twelve hours? 
Unthinkable! 
Who do you think you are? 
A Thoroughbred? 
Who do you think they are?
Arabians?*

Haflingers NEVER leave hay just standing around. They eat it all! But a few days before this one of the horses (they aren't talking) managed to pull down a few bales of hay from a stack in their run-in shed. The house sitter isn't quite sure how they did it - nor am I. The hay is stored about two feet away from fence panels. They'd have to climb up the fence (and it wasn't bent), push it in (it was still in place) or reach over the fence (with little Haflinger necks...are you kidding?!) Hmmm...maybe they enlisted the help of the pigeons!
I'm still not sure quite how they did it... but there was extra hay hanging around. My horses evidently ate, and ate, and ate some more. They were in Haflinger heaven! The house sitter would push it out of the way, and they would manage to retrieve it. By the time I got home they were either filled to the brim, or perhaps their jaws were tired from chewing! They weren't overly interested in more hay! This is probably a once in a lifetime experience! 

This brings to mind a pet peeve of mine....

Peeve #328: Listing 'flakes' of hay in a feeding chart. A flake, IMHO, is not an accurate measure of feed! 

Scene(sic) at a local barn:

I recommend that horse owners weigh the hay they feed their horses. If horses are being fed by different individuals, I think weight is a must.  I've had bales of hay where a flake weighs under 3 pounds and bales where a flake weighs 7.5 pounds. That's a huge difference! 

I weigh hay daily, either using the basket
or hanging their NibbleNets on the scale.

As a baseline horses should eat approximately 1 1/2% - 2% of their weight in roughage daily. That translates to about 16 pounds for my boys...each! This needs to be adjusted for each horse based on their level of fitness, their usage, other feed they receive and their access to pasture.  Over time, owners have a good feeling for what amount works for their horses, but in a stable, where different folks might be feeding the horses, they may not get the appropriate amount. 

Despite getting on my soapbox about feeding 'flakes' of hay, I couldn't help but chuckle at this little fella's feed chart!


Oh, you poor little thing. 
I know how you feel. I'm an 'easy keeper' too!

*This was an attempt to play off of Tevye's monologue from "Fiddler on the Roof"....  just in case you didn't catch the subtlety of it!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home

We're home!

Our Christmas visit went well. It was nice to see
Our niece and nephew and the whole family.
We talked and we ate, and we ate a bit more
I'm amazed that I fit through as I went out the door.



We're home!

It took forever, the flight was delayed
They put us on another towing the first one away.
But we got a free drink and extra snacks, too
To make us feel better 'bout what we went through.


We're home!

The horses didn't whinny, they didn't even neigh
Somehow they gorged on a whole bale of hay.
We're doing some extra walking and close watching too
To make certain that roughage makes its way through.


We're home!

Tucker is tuckered. For five nights and days
He played hard with his friends while we were away.
Our wonderful dog sitter dropped him off at our home
He may actually be relieved to be all alone!


We're home!

It's time to unpack and do laundry too.
Traveling is always such a fun thing to do!
I have to catch up on mail and read things online,
But, we're home!
In our house!
And I think that's just fine!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Piggyback


I was trying to prepare a post for the blog when I heard this little voice saying,


"Mom, hey mom!" Look at me. Look at what I did. 

Tucker, I'm busy. I'm trying to get a post on the blog. I haven't written anything for a few days.


But Mom. Look! This would make a great post! 

Tucker, not now! I have a ton of things to read and write and do!

Geesh, I'm only trying to help! 

Thank you, Tucker. I really wasn't sure what to share with my friends today!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Magic of Christmas

On Christmas morning, long, long ago....
At least twenty-five years or so,
I took this picture of my little guy
Who came into the living room and spied
A vision of wonder for a little boy
A room transformed with all sorts of toys!


Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas To You!

Last year the haffies shared the following conversation on my blog.
I had many wonderful comments about it, so decided to
reprint and repost. 

I hope you all experience the joys of the season
and can enjoy peace and good will!

Hey, Pippin. Did you know that tonight 
is a special night?

What? Do we get extra hay 
or something?

*Big sigh* 
No, silly. It has nothing to do with food.

If it isn't that we get extra hay, 
I don't see how tonight could be special.

Tonight is the beginning of the 
celebration of Christ's birth.

Christ? The guy that my Mrs. Owner 
sometimes names under her breath 
when she's really, really mad?

No. Well, yeah. 
I guess so...In a way.
Never mind...
Many years ago Mary was about to 
have a baby. Joseph and Mary were 
traveling and couldn't find a place 
to stay, so they went into a stable.

Are they coming here? Tonight? 
Goody! I love visitors!

Pippin, will you listen? Please?

Oh, sorry. I just got a bit excited.

This happened a long time ago. 
Before we were even born.
Even before our Mrs. Owner was born. 

 Wow! That really was a 
long time ago, then.

So Mary and Joseph went into the stable 
and on Christmas she gave birth to a little baby. 
He was born in the stable with all of the 
animals around him. 

Were there horses there? 
I wish I could have been there. 
I've never seen a baby born.

She put him to bed in a manger. 
His name was Jesus Christ
and many people believe he was a savior.

Oh...wasn't she worried that one of
the animals would try to eat her baby?

Oh, Pippin, how gross!
A bright star shone over the stable to 
announce the baby's birth.

Oh Doc, look! There's a star over there. 
It's really bright. Is a baby going to be 
born in our stable tonight?

The star led the wise men to the 
stable to worship the new king.

A king?            
You said he was a savior.
You are confusing me.

The wise men brought gifts for the new baby. 

Presents? I love presents.
Are the smart guys gonna
follow the bright star 
and bring presents to us?

Ever since then many people celebrate 
Jesus' birthday. They celebrate 'Christ's Mass'. 
They give gifts to loved ones in remembrance of
Jesus Christ and his birth.

Are you gonna give me a present?
What are you gonna give me?
Is my Mrs. Owner gonna give me a present?
Oooo....what do I want? 
Some apple flavored treats?

I don't have a present for you, Pippin.
Horses don't go shopping and buy presents.
But I can wish you a Merry Christmas.

Oh. OK...I guess.
And, since I don't have a present for you,
I'll just have to wish you Merry Christmas, too!



We wish all of our readers a 
Y   S T S
and Happy Holidays too!   

With love from
Doc & Pippin 

Friday, December 23, 2011

All I Want For Christmas

My youngest child came with a pout,
He instinctively knew how to push that lip out!
Even at two months he knew how to say
I want your attention, pick me up right away!

D on Christmas morning
1988

This cute little face was so hard to resist! Maybe he was pouting because Santa didn't bring him what he wanted! I'm happy to say that he has turned out to be a wonderful, thoughtful young man. Picking him up didn't spoil him one little bit!

Assuming that all goes well, I am on my way to the in-laws this morning. I am writing this ahead of time and scheduling the post. We have a 6AM flight...which means we have to leave the house by around 3AM. I have a terrible time sleeping when I know I have to get up for something like this. I envy my hubby who can fall asleep at a moment's notice...no matter what!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Walking Doll Christmas

I was about 10. I had discovered the secret door to the attic and the mother lode of Christmas gifts hidden within. As I recall, I spent a few hours peeking at presents stashed in the attic. The one that excited me the most was a large box wrapped in tissue paper. If you pressed the paper down carefully, you could read the writing on the box. The box contained a 36" walking doll. Evidently that was on the top of my list and I was very excited. I am thinking that I actually thought about how to feign surprise when the time came to unwrap the doll.
Christmas Eve finally arrived and my cousins and my aunt and uncle arrived to celebrate our Swedish style Christmas. (Have you ever noticed how much slower time moved when you were a kid?!) Our Christmas, or at least the prelude to presents, was torture for us kids. We would have a Swedish Smorgasbord with all kinds of courses. First there was a selection of cheeses and herring while the grown-ups had cocktails. Then the Swedish meatballs, cold cuts, potato salad... and those grown-ups would talk and laugh and we kids would fidget. Finally the sweets were brought out and the adults would show signs of getting up from their seats. At last!
Presents weren't a huge part of our Christmas. We all received family gifts on Christmas Eve: items of clothing and a toy or some sort of sports equipment. Santa would fill a stocking the next morning with crayons, a pair of scissors perhaps, and maybe a small toy or two. My mother was very crafty and would often add homemade items to the pile of family gifts. Since there weren't that many presents under the tree, a designated 'Santa' would deliver one gift to one person and we would all watch as the gift was opened before the next present was proffered. My mother would direct 'Santa'  as she never put tags on the gifts in an effort to keep us from mutilating the packages that finally made their way from the attic to under the tree everything a surprise!  I can still see my mom holding a gift, shaking it, and looking up into space (as if she could really see what it was in her mind), trying to recall what was in the package and who it was for. Oh, and there were the times she was wrong, and someone would open a gift that was certainly not meant for them. Mom would redirect the gift.
Meanwhile, one of my cousins seemed to have short circuited! I guess the night was long and she was tired, but Maria began to wail and whine because she hadn't gotten what she wanted (her name has been changed to protect the child - although I'm not certain we could call her innocent!). It was my turn to open a present. As everyone watched, I opened a small box containing a home made dress that would fit a walking doll. My eyes were glowing in anticipation. But then, my mother commented, "Oh no, that's not right."
"What?!!" thought I! My mother instructed me to go to the attic to get 'the present'. Oh.... so you mean.... you knew that I had been visiting the mother lode and admiring THE present?!! I skipped up the stairs. The time had finally come. I was about to meet 'my doll'! I came trotting downstairs with the tissue-wrapped package, that was only slightly smaller than me. I was about to tear into it when my mother, the Directress of Package Deployment, instructed me to give the present to my cousin, Carla. "What?!!! That's my doll," I thought as I watched, in utter devastation as Carla opened up the gift. I tried not to cry. I tried not to join Maria in a chorus of wailing and whining. I tried to find some enjoyment in seeing Carla's excitement about her gift. But... that was my doll....I thought. I was very sad.
A few more gifts were handed out and admired. I was a bit glum. My aunt left the room and came back with a large box that she handed to me. It was a walking doll. It was MY walking doll! It turns out that both my cousin and I had wanted walking dolls. The sisters, my mom and my aunt, went shopping together and schemed to fool their inquisitive girls by swapping dolls.

My doll looked something like this:


So, all was well. Carla had her doll. I had my doll... and cousin Maria finally fell asleep and peace reigned!

Silent night, Holy night.
All is calm. All is bright...

Read more Christmas stories from other bloggers at these sites:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rode Hard and Put Up Wet

GunDiva at Tales from the Trail is having a give-away contest. One lucky reader/writer can win Julie Goodnight's Guide to Great Trail Riding. The best part of this is that one of GunDiva's experiences with her wonderful horse Estes is included in the book! GunDiva also had a chance to participate in the filming of some episodes of Horse Master. How cool is that?!

I'm hoping that entries aren't judged by the horror factor... as my tales from the trail aren't terrifying (thank Heavens!) but I have had my share of misadventures! 

This is Apple.

Apple and I shared many misadventures together.
He was a sweet, willing guy that carried me safely over
cross-country courses and on many a fox hunt
way back when, when I was just a high school kid. 

Our first misadventure began the day I bought him. Actually, I shared this one with Apple's former owner, for she decided to take Apple on one last trail ride while I was in school. A large tree had fallen across the trail and Apple's former owner was hesitant to jump it. She dismounted to lead Apple through the bushes and shrubs along the side of the trail to get around the branches of the tree. She wasn't sure whether a branch smacked Apple, or whether he got stung by a bee, but he pulled back suddenly, tearing the reins from her hand and took off. She tried to follow his trail but didn't succeed and ended up hiking back to the barn, figuring Apple would be waiting to be let into his stall. However, there was no sign of my horse. He was gone. I had just delivered a check for a horse that was nowhere to be found! Now, that's horrifying! You can imagine the emotions - for the previous owner and for me. We went back to the park where Apple and she had parted ways. We walked the trails. We called local stables. We stopped at barns near the park. Finally, on the second day of being AWOL, we found a large, chestnut horse grazing peacefully in a pasture among a herd of dairy cows. It was my large chestnut horse! The farmer had found my horse in his field. He removed Apple's tack and left him in the pasture, figuring sooner or later someone would drive by and recognize the horse.

Not too long after the 'disappearing horse act' I went out for a ride on an unseasonably warm winter day. My calm horse was transformed into a wild steed as he pranced down the road, with knee action that would rival that of the best Hackney! Then, he saw it.... and we were off, galloping down the middle of the road! If you have ever had the inclination to gallop on a paved road with a shod horse, it's just like my getting out on the ice with Kristi Yamaguchi, or my trying to walk across the wet, clay paddock in my smooth-bottomed, worn barn shoes - my legs and arms do that cartoonish pinwheel stuff as I strive to stay upright. And, so it was with Apple. He galloped, and scrabbled, and slipped and slid all in an effort to escape the predator... a Great Dane, who was quietly minding his own business up the hill from the road. He didn't bark, he didn't  give chase, in fact, he didn't even come any closer. But, my horse wasn't waiting to see if he would as he knew that dog could take him in one bite! Apple awkwardly put some distance between us, saving us from certain death by fangs, and somehow managing not to crash and burn on the road. We galloped a fair distance before I could stop my charging steed. By then, he had worked himself into a lather. We returned to the barn where I set about trying to cool out and dry my dripping horse before the chill of the evening set in. It was at that point that I gained some insight into my mild-mannered horse's actions. The stable man came by to inquire about my ride. He commented on how much better a rider I was than Apple's previous owner, and explained that he had increased Apple's grain. No wonder I felt like I had been sitting on a lit rocket. Even in the height of fox hunting season Apple only required a handful of grain, not the large scoop he had been enjoying twice a day!

The stable was about 3 miles from a beautiful park with great trails. I would hack over from the stable to ride there at least once a week. One time I had just arrived at the park when the skies opened up. Apple and I galloped along the trail, through the cover of the trees, until we came to a picnic area. We took shelter under a covered eating area to wait out the storm. The storm outlasted our patience. The rain just wasn't letting up so we started for the barn. As we headed out into the storm I'm sure Apple had visions of his stall filled with piles of dry, fluffy straw.  He was anxious to get home and lit out in a nice, ground-covering trot. However, herein lay the problem; as we went along, Apple was intently watching where we were going. This meant that his ears were forward. Did you notice how large his ears were? They made perfect rain scoops! It makes my eyes cross to imagine the feeling of cold drops of water splashing into my ears. Apple would put up with the rain drops for a bit, then he would slide to a stop and shake, beginning with his head and working down to the tip of the tail, almost shaking me out of the soggy saddle. As we continued on our way, he'd try to flop his ears to the side, but soon they'd point forward again. He'd stop and shake. My silly horse never could figure how to move along without having to suffer from raindrops collecting in his ears!

Maybe it wasn't just the discomfort of raindrops in the ears that Apple objected to, because, come to think of it, he wasn't thrilled with walking through water, either. We had a few misadventures on cross-country courses and hacks through the park where we would have differing opinions about a water hazard. I was eliminated on cross-country once because Apple refused to step his dainty hooves into the water. We did a very interesting dance at the edge of the water, but no way, no how, was he going to get wet! That was unacceptable! Working through this issue became our main focus. I went out of my way to find water. One day the trail I was following entered a huge puddle, or perhaps a small lake! We had recently had some warm weather that had melted a good bit of snow, and on top of that we had had a spell of rainy weather. So it wasn't unexpected that there were areas where we were used to riding that were now under water. Apple, with a little encouragement, followed the trail into the water. We plopped through the water as it rose higher up his legs. First to his knees, then to his elbows and soon, my sweet horse was belly deep in water. He was handling this like a champ. Then he stopped. I urged him forward. Nope. We weren't going that way. I asked him to turn to the right. Nope. Not that way, either. Apple wouldn't budge. Not forward, left, right or backwards. Apple stood his ground in stubborn horse-style passive resistance! I couldn't figure it out. We just stood there, with my toes just above the water that lapped over Apple's belly. I again asked him to go forward and he tried to take a step. I realized that he wasn't being contrary.  He wasn't moving forward because his leg was being held fast under the water. Apple was caught by something, perhaps the lake-ness monster? I looked at the expanse of water surround me. I couldn't come up with any alternative for getting out of this situation other than dismounting and sliding into the cold water. Once I got in the water, I slid my hand down Apple's leg. My hand reached midway down his canon bone and I couldn't feel anything that would impede his progress. I had no choice but to participate in some impromptu, unprepared-for, snorkeling without a snorkel. I had to plunge my head into the water as I followed my hand down his leg. I discovered a piece of wire from an old submerged fence around Apple's pastern. It took several dives to release his leg. He stood patiently as I repeatedly plunged into the water to work the wire with both hands, and came up to gulp some fresh air. Finally he was freed. I mounted, dripping wet, for a cold, soggy ride back to the barn.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Five Shopping Days Left

I can feel the sense of panic coming over the masses as Christmas comes inexorably closer. The calendar pages drift to the floor as the deadline nears. Only five shopping days left.


Most shoppers in the stores have become impervious to the spirit of Christmas; the carols tinkling over the intercom and the Salvation Army bells ringing at the store entrances fall on deaf ears. Shoppers in the store are on a mission. Their eyes are fixed on a distant point and they seem like automatons as they push their carts through the crowded aisles in a quest to find gifts for those hardest to shop for. Perhaps they have visions of the perfect gift, or maybe the TV ad for the item is running through their minds in an endless loop. Regardless, they seem blind to all but their purpose. They bump into your cart. They hit your heel with their cart. They stop, momentarily abandoning their carts in the busy aisles.


I am so tempted. But I refrain. It wouldn't be in the spirit of the holiday. It wouldn't be kind. But, I can imagine it, can't I? Oh, it would be so much fun! Sweet revenge! The idea comes from a small book called, Life's Little Annoyances: True Tales of People Who Just Can't Take It Anymore by Ian Urbina. One essay in the book describes a fellow's retaliation on shoppers who are guilty of cart mismanagement. While they have abandoned their carts in the middle of the aisle, he slips a little something into them. Something embarrassing, or something expensive, or something that is so inappropriate, it is laughable....at least to the perpetrator!

This season, for example, one might plant:
  • a Barbie in the classic pink box into the cart filled with Power Ranger action figures, a Marvel Wolverine Blaster and a Thomas the Tank train set. 
  • a super-sized bottle of Milk of Magnesia into a cart filled with large tins of shortbread cookies, plastic candy canes filed with M & M's, cartons of egg nog and, of course, a fruitcake!
  • a book on parenting for the mother with the 6 year-old who is wailing about not getting what he wants for Christmas. 
Certainly I would never play such a prank on a harried hapless shopper - but the thought is ... tempting and tantalizing!

Monday, December 19, 2011

And Now For Some Christmas Cheer

We just happened to be in Golden, CO the other day. Golden is the home of the Coors beer brewery and the Colorado School of Mines, founded in 1873 and 1874 respectively. Our son (a student at 'Mines') says that Golden is not a "college town with a drinking problem" but it is a "drinking town with a college problem!"

We took the 'short tour' at Coors - which means a quick walk down the hall toward the tasting room. The hall is lined with cases containing historic information about the brewery and the beer, so it is mildly educational. Apparently our son takes this short tour with some frequency as we will often see an open invitation to meet for "Coors lab" on Facebook!!

We enjoyed our free beer tasting. Each person is allowed up to three, free beers. We enjoyed the moment even more when serenaded by a lively group of college kids. We may, or may not, have known this was going to happen. We may or may not have known one or more of the kids in the group!! (I will protect their desires to remain anonymous!)

I took a video of the presentation, but I couldn't get it to load on blogger. One of the other bystanders shot this video and put it on YouTube. 



It was great fun to see the kids having some fun. The Coors employees seemed to enjoy the presentation as well, as did other beer tasters in the crowd.

I thought I'd share it with you, my readers. It's a fun twist on a traditional carol and certain to bring a smile on this day, so close to Christmas!








Sunday, December 18, 2011

Driving Tucker......... Crazy

It all began when we stopped at PetCo. While hubby was looking at aquaria, I perused the open bins of dog biscuits. As I looked at the green dog bones a vision flashed through my old feeble brain. I saw a doggie treat wreath! I bought a pound of green dog bone biscuits and two pressed rawhide red bells. On the trip home, and for the next few days, I let the idea percolate. Then I began to drive Tucker crazy!


I found a large cardboard box and laid the dog
bones out in a circle to get an idea of size.


I sat by my mom's elbow looking really cute. 
I was hoping she'd give me a dog treat. 
I didn't even drool....much!


I used my nesting mixing bowls to trace circles 
to create two wreath shapes, and cut them out.

I stayed near the table. Staring at  the dog
treats. I tried practicing levitation.....
Sadly, it didn't work.


I glued the cardboard circles together to make a
sturdier form. After the glue was dry I hand 
stitched burlap on either side of the wreath form 
using green DMC floss. 


I kept sticking my nose into mom's work.
She didn't like it... but that thing she
was holding smelled like dog biscuits....
even though I couldn't find them no 
matter where I put my nose!


I cut the burlap about 1 1/2" around the outside
and inside of the 'wreath'. Then I pulled the 
threads of the burlap apart to 'ravel' the edges. 



My mom got the dog biscuits out again 
and placed them around that thing.
I scored! She couldn't stand the
plaintive, pitiful, poor, pathetic
look on my sweet, little, fuzzy face!!


That's me... balancing a dog biscuit
on my nose. Don't cha love my 
red eyes? They aren't really red. 
Mom thought they looked Christmassy 
with the green dog treat!


I fired up the hot glue gun and made loops
with green grosgrain ribbon. I tried to make 
the loops tight enough to hold the bones, 
but loose enough so the bones could be 
removed to give to good dogs!

I'm a good dog!!


I drilled holes in the top of the rawhide
bells and tied them on the wreath with
red ribbon.

Picture me smiling. 
I got to eat the crumbs!


The wreath was cute, but lacked something.
I made a trip to the craft store and bought a
spray of glittery 'berries' which I pulled off
and glued between each dog biscuit.

Are they edible?
They don't smell very good!


Ta daaaaaa! 


Now can I eat it?



The wreath will be a gift for Tucker to 
take to his dog sitter over Christmas.
She can pull dog bones out of the loops
to reward dogs for being good.

Why don't cha just give them to me now?!

I'll give you the leftover dog treats.
If you are good, that is.

I'm always good!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Visit From....

I bet you were thinking, "St. Nicholas" right?!

Not this time!

This is about a visit from the equine dentist!

The equine dentist brings his office with him.
Do you see Doc peering out of the stall at the Doc's trailer?

 Doc checks out the equipment.
Are these tools sanitized? I don't want Pippin's cooties!

 Night, night, Doc!

Rinse and spit...
Bleech!

 Open wide, Doc.
Dang, that thing is COLD!

Say, "Ahhhh!"

 Bzzzzz....
So, Doc, have you been eating the right things?
Your teeth look pretty good - not too many sharp points.
Have you been brushing?
I habe it when de Doc aks kestions when my mouff 
is full ub stuff.

 Zrrrrrr....
Let's smooth those canines.

 Uh oh... what is going on here?
Going on where? 
What are you looking at?
I wanna see. Do you have a mirror?

The discoloration on Doc's incisor is caused by bacteria
attacking just under the enamel.
There is a tiny hole where the Doc's pic is located.
It is a defect or possibly the result of trauma.
Within a few months, Doc will have a filling, well, actually an onlay.
If we don't deal with this Doc would ultimately need
a root canal to save the tooth.
I'm not sure I like the sound of this....
Me neither!

Welcome New Friends

I have two three new friends!

Welcome Dee and Courtney... and Kathy! I'm so glad you are my new friends and are following my adventures!

Dee is a 'real' writer... as opposed to those of us who just click things out on the keyboard! Well, really, what I mean is that she is a published writer.... well I guess all Bloggers are 'published'... but Dee has a book published... Well, then again, maybe it wasn't Dee who wrote the book! You see, her cat, Dulcy, channeled her story through Dee, explaining how she (Dulcy) trained her (Dee). You can read more about Dee and Dulcy's book on Dee's Blog: Coming Home to Myself. I learned about Dee and about Dulcy's book from my good friend Inger at Desert Canyon Living and in short order had purchased three copies of the book - an eBook version for me and two books (which Dee so graciously signed) for cat lovers in my family. Oh... I forgot to tell Dee that the eBook version looks great and the illustrations come across beautifully!

Kathy is another new friend. She lives in the southeast, where I used to live! Kathy has three... yes, I said 3 blogs! I hardly keep up with one... and only occasionally post on my second blog! Whew! That's a lot of work! She writes "A Delightsome Life", "The Simple Gift of Grace",  and "Victoria, A Return to Lovliness". Kathy, in my way of thinking, is the epitome of southern charm and grace. If you stop by her main blog, "A Delightsome Life", I think you'll see what I mean!

I love how Blogland connects us to people we would probably never meet in any other way, but who have all kinds of connections to us... and in some ways could be 'us' in a parallel universe. I think Courtney might be my doppelgänger! I have been participating in Patrice's "Chats on a Farmhouse Porch". Patrice organized a Christmas exchange and Courtney and I were paired together. Courtney writes: Sassafras and Winterberry. What I found fascinating was how many ways Courtney and I are alike:
  • We are both teachers (although I'm retired). 
  • We both have two boys.
  • We enjoy knitting...but Courtney seems far more advanced than I am.
  • We have both moved to new homes this summer.
  • We both like antiques - especially antique bric-a-brac and items of decor.
  • Neither of us likes Christmas shopping and we abhor Black Friday.
  • We've both taught third grade.
  • We both have cats that were young mama's
  • We both want to have chickens and enjoy 'country living'!
There are probably many other similarities... I just feel it!

Anyway, I agreed to swap gifts...so I need to find the perfect gift for Courtney and I think I found it! I am so excited.... I do hope she likes it! It's a ..... oh, wait... I can't say because she might be reading this... but it "fits" her....I think...I hope!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

F is for Forgot

I forgot to participate in AlphabeThursday ... for two weeks in a row!!! I hope my friends will forgive me for this faux pas!

Click on the image above to visit 
Jenny Matlock's AlphabeThursday site.

I forget a lot of things - lately. But, wait,  I was always a forgetful kind of person! I blame it on having a busy mind that is going a mile-a-minute and things just sometimes get lost in the shuffle... kinda like that coconut shell game where you have to pick the coconut with the ball under it!

I've forgotten all kinds of things!

For example, I forgot...
  • to pack all of my clothes while visiting a hotel. At least 7 months later, as fall was approaching, I realized I was missing two jackets that were a cornerstone of my wardrobe. I did the Winnie-the-Pooh, hand to forehead, "think, think, think" thing. I realized that I had last seen the clothes while on a business trip - I called the hotel and they still had my jackets - and a pair of pants - and a shirt! My God, how does one walk off and leave that amount of clothing and not realize it for months?!!
  • the names of the notes on the G clef - I took guitar lessons in high school and learned the notes. I had to learn piano in college...and relearned the notes. I took violin lessons with my son and had to learn the notes all over again!! To this day I have to use the mnemonic: Every Good Boy Does Fine. Somehow I guess the wiring in my brain for this sort of thing has been short circuited!
  • that I had an x-ray to determine if I had thyroid problems! Shortly after giving birth to my first child the OB/Gyn suggested I have this X-ray as he noticed I had an enlarged thyroid. I had the test, which required a huge shot of a radioactive isotope. The results were non-conclusive. A year later another doctor suggested the same procedure. I TOTALLY forgot that I had the test done previously! This proves what I always suspected, a woman loses half of her brain with the placenta! 
.... and the worst, almost unforgivable forgetfulness:
  • I forgot to drop my infant at day care! Lord knows where my brain was (and it seems 'He' took care of me), but I drove right by the babysitter's house and ended up in the school parking lot. I got out of the car and opened the back door to get my book bag. There was the smiling face of my 11-month old son in his car seat! Holy cow! How did I forget to take you to day care?! If I hadn't opened the back door to get something.... This still haunts me! (Again, proof positive that brain cells migrate to the placenta and are lost during childbirth!)

So, I guess forgetting to stop by and participate in AlphabeThursday is a forgivable offense!

There are many more friends participating in Alphabe-Thursday. Find them further down this page and stop by for a visit! Have fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Treasures on the Tree - Cobwebs AND Chats on the Porch

I met my 'soul sister' quite a few years ago. It was uncanny, but the first day I met her I had a feeling that she and I would be very good friends. That turned out to be true. Then... she moved away. Gosh darn... isn't it awful when someone has to move because they need to get a job to earn money?! We try to visit each other once a year, taking turns going through the hassle of air travel.

Several years ago it was my turn to visit. My friend lives in Michigan and she decided that we would go off for a girl's weekend to Frankenmuth, MI. Frankenmuth is called Michigan's "Little Bavaria". It's an enclave of German ancestry that shaped their town to encourage tourism when the Interstate diverted traffic years ago. Now the town is known for quaint German shops, the largest Christmas shop and chicken dinners. We had a wonderful weekend. We talked... and talked... and talked some more. We shopped a bit. We somehow missed the famous chicken dinners, though!
While we were in town we visited Bronner's Christmas shop. Because I spent so much on lovely Christmas goodies I was given this cobweb ornament as a gift. 
Of course, there is a story behind cobwebs on the tree. In fact, there are slightly different versions of the legend, but basically a poor woman (wife, mother) is preparing for Christmas. She doesn't have money for decorations, so, during the night a spider makes a web covering the tree. In the early morning the web is turned to silver and gold. The tree sparkled and shimmered and was even more beautiful than before. That's why we have tinsel on our trees and why every tree should have a Christmas spider amongst it's branches.

Every year, when I pull out my spider web ornament, I am reminded of the fun my friend and I had while visiting each other. Our lives are bound together in many ways with invisible ties, just like a spider web... and, this too, is better than a stink bug!

I bet you have an ornament that brings to mind good memories, too.


Despite the cold weather, Patrice at Everyday Rurality is continuing her Farmhouse Porch chats. I enjoy chatting with others, so will bundle up and join everyone on the porch. Do visit her site to see other answers to the questions... and especially Wendell's thoughts.


1. Where is your favorite place to think, reflect, or pray?

I do a lot of thinking while doing mundane tasks; cleaning the paddocks, driving on long trips, cooking, etc. If I get the chance, I also enjoy sitting in a secluded spot 'out there' - on our property in NC, overlooking a small stream, on a rock outcropping perched high about the ground, on a bench in the woods, for example.
2. Did you believe in Santa as a kid?
I'm supposed to remember that far back?! Yeah... Santa brought stockings filled with all kinds of goodies. I probably realized who really filled the stocking when I was 7 or 8.
3. What's your favorite kind of Christmas cookie? You can add a recipe if you have time.
I love them all - but rarely bake any. If I bake them, I eat them and my weight is always an issue.
4. Did you grow up around any of your grandparents?
I saw my maternal grandmother about once a year, but she lived about 400 miles away. My paternal grandfather and his step wife lived about an hour away. We enjoyed holiday meals with them. My maternal grandmother lived across the country, but I was able to visit for a month at a time almost every summer. Since she lived on a ranch, it was heavenly!
5. What's your favorite winter sport-skiing, skating,sledding, other(?) 
My parents gave my siblings and me skis for Christmas when I was 9. The plan was that we would ski on the hills around the house. My dad originally thought skiing was 'stupid' - but he caught the bug a few months later, came home with equipment for my mom and for himself, and we skied just about every weekend when there was snow to be found, from that time until I graduated from high school. In the beginning, Dad would stay up until the 11:00 news on Friday, and then again on Saturday, to hear the ski reports from areas within driving distance (2-5 hours away). He'd wake us up at the appropriate time so that we could be in the lift line, ready to ski, as the tows opened. After a few years of this exhausting schedule, my parents rented rooms in a home near SnowRidge at Turin, NY. This was about a 3-hour trip from our home. We would drive up Friday evening, ski all weekend, and return Sunday after the lifts closed. I still enjoy skiing and usually get on the mountain only a few times each winter since hubby is not a skier and I don't have anyone to ski with. 

Almost Home

When we left California it seemed that our trek across country would never end. Now, as we approach our final destination in southern Florid...