Monday, March 26, 2007

Thanks alot.

When I die, no one is going to get up and eulogize about my housekeeping skills. Looking down, hopefully, from heaven, I will not hear them say, "Boy, did she keep a clean and organized house." The way I look at it, there are four of them, twenty-one if you count animals, and only one of me. I am marginally organized, but there just isn't enough time in my day and blog, too. And yes, I "do" Flylady. She obviously doesn't have a five year old.

My sister, despite having children and animals and a husband like mine that works long hours, somehow manages to keep her house sparkling. Okay, she DOES have a part-time housekeeper, so really, that must explain it all! Doesn't it?

In How to Know When Your Cat is About to Die, I posted a photo of Lazurus lazily reclining on our grand piano. Only Diane would notice, by clicking on the photo and blowing it up, that the cat had swished his tail, revealing the layer of dust on the piano. Oh, so be it. The day is warm and spring is here. The dust will be here tomorrow. I'm going outside.

The Walking Dead

We're back from a beautiful weekend at the Kentucky Horse Park, hob-nobbing with the British teams and people from all over the U.S. Several years were carved off my life when I saw two riders, whom I know well, have some seriously scary moments. I'm sending them the bill for the hair dye. Both girls rode exceptionally well, their teams placing fourth and sixth out of nine teams. Considering these teams are some of the best and they've just begun in this division and both are on new ponies, this is quite an accomplishment. Here's a nice article about the weekend.

We're all exhausted, walking around like zombies. We'll recover in a week or two.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Some People Live This Way All the Time

I received an email from dh on a business trip to India. I found it fascinating, as a world I've never quite experienced: business class.

Business class seating is pretty deluxe. I could not help getting a huge grin across my face when I first sat down in the business class “cockpit”. Unlike the oversize lazyboy chairs of the past, the new bc seating is like a little canoe that you climb in with controls to tilt the seat, lighting, air,etc. Each seat has its own TV screen, phone, and plug-ins for various accessories. Champagne is offered upon arrival along with a menu of the meal service (filet mignon, of course with a nice cabernet). I wonder what they are having in the cheap seats? After being bored by the constant pampering and refills of wine, coffee, mixed nuts, etc I decided to tune into a movie called Deja Vue ( a time machine concept starring Denzel Washington). OK, now tired a bit the seat completely reclined and a little stool pops up to rest your feet on. Too bad the little canoe was designed for a 5’8” adolescent. My arms kept getting the circulation cut off from being cramped against the sides but it sure was better then the alternative.

Did I mention we get free use of the captains lounge at the airport while we wait for our flights? More free drinks, snacks, newspapers, internet access, full showers, etc.

The scary part is some people live this way all the time


Also away at the time to a riding competition with the girls, I, too, can be a travel writer:

At the Micro-no-tell, they gave us some teenee little bars of soap. Evidently, people staying here don't was their hair (no shampoo) and usually share the one towel. It's clean, but the breakfast buffet includes coffee and a pre-packaged muffin. I must have missed the champagne hour. I've not slept much either. The room temperature control unit has two choices: freeze your ass off or hot as hell. It beats tent camping, however, and it's quiet except for the slamming doors and cars rev-ing their engines in the parking lot.

You know what's scary? Some people live like this all the time!

This morning, as I got my morning cup of coffee so that I could actually speak, a man with a strong New York accent proclaimed the breakfast area, though of course he didn't really want to say, but of course he did, pathetic. After getting his coffee and moving aside, he asked me if I'd gotten my creamer. I said, no thank you, that I didn't use it. What he meant was where IS the creamer??? He walks around in circles, proclaiming to his family that they didn't even have creamer. Finding a box with packets of powder creamer, I showed the man.

Loudly: "THIS is my creamer?" He turns toward the desk one step away. "This is the creamer??"

The desk clerk, bless her heart, merely smiled. It was on my tongue to say, "Dummy, you're at the Micro-no-tell, not the Waldorf." Gees. You book your family at the cheapest hotel and expect pure cream, freshly squeezed from the cow out back? But of course, I could say nothing, not having had my coffee yet. I smiled back at the clerk and went my way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Okay, So I'm a Big Mouth

Writing happens. In my head.
Can't keep it quiet 'til I'm dead.

We've been reading Shakespeare this week (A Midsummer Night's Dream), and couplets just pop out and words like "I beseech you to clean thyne room". So, yes, I'll still blog, dear readers, but only positives about my lovelies. No funny rhymes, no jest of our tymes.

Stop it.

Okay, today I had a great idea. More people, it seems, vote on the show American Idol than for the president. Granted, three-fourths of them are 11 year olds, but still.....

Here's my idea. Candidates for president will be required to submit to a 8 week reality TV show, combining the best our media has to offer. Okay, not the best, but whatever they have to offer. Each week, we'll vote by cell phone, of course, and the lowest rated candidate will be waved off with a misty look back (via video) at the previous weeks.

Week 1: Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
I think this should knock off several candidates right away. Think "vocabulary" and "countries of the world". Can you locate Darfur on a map?

Week 2: The Apprentice
Each candidate will assemble a team and be given a domestic crisis to handle. Members of the audience will vote based on the candidate's team answer. The Donald will kick off those that aren't hard-*ss enough to handle difficult situations well and mange their team.

Week 3: Curb Appeal
If I'm going to have to look at this person over the next four years, are they easy on the eyes? Can we round out the edges, get rid of annoying gestures and facial expressions? How about a new hair style?

Week 4: What Not to Wear
As Leader of the Free World, presidents should look presidential. Stacy and Clinton will go through each candidates wardrobe and shoes, throwing everything out and replacing them with pointy-toed shoes and a fitted jacket.

Week 5: Survivor
I want a strong candidate that can physically survive the brutal schedule of the White House. Does he have an attitude of we're in this together or is it all about him/her? I suggest having them go to live in New Orleans or in an inner city projects. Can they survive?

Week 6: Whose Line is it Anyway?
The candidate should be funny and spontaneous, good at improv.

Week 7: Who Wants to be a Model?
Here, I envision tempting the candidate with models. Are they susceptible to sex scandals?

Week 8: American Idol
Candidates will be judged based on how much we like them and their entertainment value, not whether they have talent, work hard at their job, are smart and actually capable of running the country. Because we all KNOW that Americans want someone they like and not someone that has anything to do with icky politics.

I believe that this course of action will improve our chances of getting the right candidate. If not, at least it will be entertaining and get us in no worse shape than we are in now.

My Grandpa by Anna


I am allowed to brag

Yes, posting about the kids' accomplishments is still permitted. And there still is William to blog about, since he can't yet read. (He's working on it though, so my blogging days with him as the subject are probably limited.) Therefore, here are today's brags. Indulge me if you will.

Anna is headed to Germany next month to compete in German Pairs Mounted Pony Games. This article appeared in today's Courier Journal. One correction: the photo is mislabled. Anna is on the left.

Girls heading for international games
(Blogger html isn't working AGAIN!!! hence, the lack of embedded hyperlink.)

Lauren wows them! Lauren performed spectacularly at her recital earlier this month. Her ability to perform astounds me. And, she's beautiful on top of it.

Monday, March 19, 2007

At a Loss for Words

I'm not sure what to write anymore, since the wind was taken from my sails. My funny bone has been stolen and buried. My family, half jokingly but at the same time serious, dislikes being the topic of conversation. Something about my tendency to exaggerate to the point of untruth. Dang, I come from Italian stock on one side. Exaggeration is Everything. I guess I'll have to peruse the news for items of amusement. Perhaps I can blog about unsuspecting members of that public that catch my eye. I don't know. I'm at a loss for words.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

At Least He Was Listening

Dh came up to me this morning and kissed me. "One," he said, and then gave me a hug. "Two."
He rubbed my back, "Three."
"What are you doing?" I asked, glad for the attention until it began to dawn on me what he was doing.
"Four, five, " he said, patting first my right shoulder and then my left.

Yesterday, I told him about the reference I found that said:

Touch often. UCLA researchers determined that meaningful touch is crucial to maintaining an intimate relationship. Other studies have found that women in particular need eight to ten meaningful touches a day to stay mentally and physically healthy.

"No, no, no," I protested. " That doesn't count. There has to be a minimum of 15 minutes between each touch." I made that part up, not having access to the original data, but I'm sure it's in there somewhere, that is, if the study wasn't conducted by men only.

He hugged me around the shoulders, patted each shoulder again. "There. Six, seven, eight."

At least he was listening.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Am I the Only Female That Hates Shoes?

I have a confession to make: I'm not normal. Those of you that know me are nodding in agreement already, knowing that I speak the truth. Not so fast, compadres. I speak only about my feet. My feet have been deformed by bunions since I was a child. A podiatrist told me this resulted from the natural tendency for my feet to turn in. Mom bought only the best shoes when I was a child, but the die were cast in my genes.

So, why do I blather about my ailments like the aging person that I am? Well, my bunions have affected my lack of enthusiasm for shoes. All shoes cause me pain, its just the degree to which they cause pain. Let me take that back: ugly, really ugly, shoes are comfortable. Podiatrists are no help. They tell me to wear shoes that give me plenty of room (read: UGLY) and with good arch support (read: ORTHOPEDIC). You might as well knit me a shawl and give me a walker. But, they say, insurance will not pay for it if it does not cause pain when wearing appropriate shoes (read: UGLY AND ORTHOPEDIC). And, should you have he operation to fix them, you really should not wear those awful, fashionable shoes, or risk returning to bunion-land.

Pain? They want pain? How about emotional anguish? I can't wear just about any fashionable shoe. The long, pointy toes make me laugh. The European and Birkestocks just don't go with my limited evening wear. How about physical pain? Anything with a heel just shoots pain with each step.

Over time, I've just given in to apathy. I've tried wearing comfortable shoes. I had a pair of brown leather, expensive mules I loved. Because they were so comfortable, I wore them all the time, and I'll admit, they looked it. Dh called them my "cow pie" shoes, because, he said, it looked as if I were wearing two cow pies on my feet. Remarkably, these shoes suspiciously disappeared from the garage one day. I mourn my cow pie shoes.

Dh says someday, we'll get my feet fixed. Some day, like when I don't have to be on them all day long and can actually manage to have time to sit down and recover. By then, I will be in my house dress and slippers, and won't care that I can now wear killer boots.

When I read on Notes from the Trenches about What Not writing about the shoe sale at Endless, I'll admit I went to look. I momentarily dreamed about having dainty little shoes and maybe a pair of kick-ass ones. Then, I looked at the prices and again wonder where my cow pie shoes are. Luckily, it is almost spring, and in Kentucky, that's barefoot season!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Portrait of Aidan

Anna continues to amaze me with her artistic abilities. Here is a portrait, commissioned by my friend, Christine, of her son, Aidan. I wish you could see the original, which is so wonderful in detail, but this scan gives you an idea of how impressed we all are!

More Excitement Than I Need

Fences, Robert Frost says, make good neighbors. Though I enjoy his poetry, I guess I would have to disagree. Fences delineate my property, but seem to serve no purpose. The dogs all laugh among themselves, knowing as they do all the holes for easy passage to the other side. Fences will not keep out the highly motivated (think illegal immigrants).

Testosterone is a powerful thing. Imagine it coursing through the blood of a two year old Morgan stud horse. Separated by only a rolled wire fence topped with electric wire, his nostrils flare at the scent of Ginny, our five year old mare in heat. He leans a bit against the fence. I called the neighbor, verifying that the horse was a stallion, and warning him that he was leaning over the fence. For horses, fences are a suggestion. For a stallion, fences are a simple obstacle.

The horse reared, and slid right over the fence, landing in the middle of our four horses. Lauren was already yelling, and we all ran for our mud boots. What to do? The most dangerous situation I can imagine is trying to separate a stallion from a mare in heat. Throw in three more horses, one of which thinks he's still a stud (though he's not, we all know men like that), and you have a powder keg.

So there we were, the three of us, brandishing rakes and brooms, looking like some yokel farmers against an impossible force. My first concern was for the girls, that they not be trampled or get in the crossfire of charging horses. The horses at first tried running from the stud, but he pursued. Bay, our old TW horse, would stand with the mares, while Jorgen, a little 12.3 hands gelding backed up to the stallion and began kicking for all he was worth.

For about what seemed like days but was probably a half hour, we tried cornering and stealth maneuvers to get close to a horse to catch at least one. The dangers were that the horses would break the fence and run down the road or hurt one another.

The stallion finally chomped onto Jorgen's leg, making him nearly go down. I whacked him hard with a broom handle, which of course, set them all to running again. The bite, however, slowed Jorgen down and he was tiring. I was able to catch him, which reduced the sexual tension in the crowd. We offered the remaining horses grain under the fence, and Lauren was able to reach through and get a lead rope on the stud, who thankfully had on a halter. We removed our horses, and all that remained was to walk home a crazed, out of his mind, walking testosterone factory. By now, he was tired, too, and I was able to get him home without problems, locking him in the barn.

The owner had come home by now, maybe because of my call to him on my cell phone "GET HOME NOW!" He apologized and has called me many times since to check on all the horses and offered to pay the vet bills, if any.

At this point I learned from Lauren that she had seen that the stud had gotten to the mare. I called the vet. "Do you have a horsey version of the morning after pill?" I asked.
Indeed they do, a shot given after five days from the end of her heat. Gee, the things that I continue to learn.

We are all calmed down now. I reminded the neighbor that stud farms generally are double fenced with four board fencing. So do fences make good neighbors? Perhaps the right kind of fence, but it might be easier and cheaper to geld that horse. As for me, I got my exercise for the next month.

Unfaithful

He strolled into the bedroom and sprawled across the bed, smelling like another woman's perfume. Tired and cranky, he was in no mood for talk or stroking. After making sure he got every meal and every advantage, he's two-timing us. Or at least, we suspect as much. It has to be that he's visiting some other woman's home. I can smell it on him.

I don't use perfume or perfumed products in my laundry, so it can't be that he's sitting by the dryer vent. Yes, Lazarus, newly neutered cat, still strays some days from home. I wonder who he's visiting?


Friday, March 02, 2007

Technology, Part II

It's crazy, but I started having night sweats about changing all my technology providers. (Or is this early menopause, early meaning I don't want to have this happen to me until I'm like 78 or something). I woke up the morning that the satellite people were to come install the dishes, thinking I'd made a mistake. Apart from not having DVR or HDTV (don't you just love our age of acronyms?), I'm pretty happy with my service. I just didn't like the big monthly ding in my wallet.

I went over the numbers again, and called my current provider. It seems that if you threaten them with "you'll never see the likes of me again", they are magically able to give you a new price that was previously unavailable. Imagine that! Okay, I gave up the second phone line that I never wanted in the first place, and I gave up the Movie Pak that I didn't know I had and never watched. My monthly bill went down $40 a month. Amazing! Just for the asking. I'm wondering what other bills I can get down by threatening to defect to another provider?

I was thinking about all these bills. This "bundle" is my cable, internet, and phone line with caller ID and call waiting. Thinking back to my childhood, we didn't have any of this. If someone called and you didn't answer, the phone rang and rang (no answering machine) or was busy. They just called back another time - no irritation was expected that you weren't instantly available. We had no cell phones, though I don't remember that being a problem. Mom was at the grocery and you could ask your question when she got home. She actually could shop in solitude - imagine!

The thing I don't think I could now do without is the internet. Information that is available to me at the touch of the keyboard was unimaginable in those days. A friend and I were talking about the incredible changes in technology that my great-grandmother, no, even my grandmother, saw: the TV, cars, planes. But think: I can look up almost anything on the internet. I can self-publish. I can answer my kids questions. Truly amazing.

So, I am not making any changes in my technology package right now. What a relief!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Perfect Post Award

Suburban Turmoil and MommaK invited me to tell you what blog post I liked the most in the month of February for their Perfect Post Award. It was an easy choice. Fish in My Hair, my sister in spirit, wrote about taking her teenage daughter shopping for jeans, one of those things that parents should be warned about in preparing for the job. Having BTDTSTTS (Been There, Done That, Shrank The T-Shirt), I'd say she summed it up perfectly. Go here to read her post.

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