Monday, April 28, 2008

Lauren's Home!

Adolescent Brains are Works in Progress

Giedd hypothesizes that the growth in gray matter followed by the pruning of connections is a particularly important stage of brain development in which what teens do or do not do can affect them for the rest of their lives. He calls this the "use it or lose it principle," and tells FRONTLINE, "If a teen is doing music or sports or academics, those are the cells and connections that will be hardwired. If they're lying on the couch or playing video games or MTV, those are the cells and connections that are going to survive."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Good morning!
My daughter, who is in Japan, and I were talking over the internet. She made the statement that returning home will be such an "adjustment". Why so? Because "everything here is so neat and clean". Was I just insulted?
I offered to help her apply Japanese principles to her bedroom. I also offered to get rid of all the animals and move to a house with no yard, both of which are our major source of dirt and time-consuming work. We could implement a "no shoes" rule, and I'm sure that it would help, but I'm just not very disciplined at following through with rules like that.
In Japan, one takes off ones shoes at the doorway, replacing them with your own indoor-only slippers. Guest slippers are provided for visitors. This seems okay, but I am astounded by the requirement that when entering the bathroom, one must exchange one's slippers for the community slippers for the toilet only. I can just imagine, wanting to go to the bathroom and the toilet slippers are missing. "Okay," I yell out loud. "Who forgot to take off the toilet slippers?" I investigate the house slippers left behind for signs of the perpetrator. Likely, it would not work here.
For those of you that have inquired about "poor" Chiron, he is doing quite well. As the doc told me, he was a bit humble for the first day or two, and gave up rearing in favor of just plain biting.
He and I need to have a talk.

It is sunny! I've dug the garden and need to get to work.

Today is my busy day - getting Anna to her work at a stable with her horse, my volunteer job for a couple of hours, back to get Anna and her horse, fix dinner and then Anna to art class and back. Very full, but oddly satisfying.

Commenting: My own blog seems to think I am a spammer, and though I'm trying to turn off word verification for comments, a real person (is there such a thing in the blogosphere?) must look at my blog and verify me. I wonder which post made them think I'm not real? I wonder how many years it will take for a real person to get around to me?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How You Know It's Spring

You find a sprite on your doorstep wearing an
ivy wreath and a dandelion necklace.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Chiron is Now a Gelding

Today's science lesson is in horse anatomy and removal of said anatomy. It may be that I saw more winces today from human males than I've ever seen.

WARNING: This video is very graphic in nature and bloody. Do not watch it if you are bothered by footage of surgical procedures or blood. It is not appropriate for young children or older ones unless you've have the birds and bees discussion! (Or unless you want to have it today!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Clean Start

As I sat at the computer, I heard the washer start up and inquired as to who was doing laundry. It turned out to be Anna. When I exclaimed my disbelief, she stated that she had also cleaned her room.

"Wow, the world must be coming to an end!" I exclaimed.
"I hope not," she said quickly. "Because if it is, I just wasted a whole lot of my time."

Monday, April 14, 2008


The vet had an emergency today, and Lil' Boy was spared becoming a gelding until Friday.

It seems some males think that I should have some sympathy for the colt. He tried to bite me in the chest, okay? He tried to bite the family jewels when dh was in the paddock. He thinks he's God's gift to the stallion world. I have no sympathy.

Rearing and screaming his way into our barn, he declares that it's him or me. And I say - it's him.

He does now have a name: Chiron. Optimistically named, pronounced kye'-rən. From D'Aulaire's Greek Myths:
There was one centaur who was kind and wise and was fond of children. His name was Chiron. Though he looked like the other centaurs, he wasn't related to them at all. He was the son of Cronus the Titan and was immortal. Chiron was famous as the greatest teacher in Greece. Kings brought their small sons to him so he could raise them in the true spirit of heroes.

In his quiet cave on Mount Pelion, he taught them manly sports and how to use the healing herbs of the earth and how to read the stars in the sky. All his pupils returned to their homes exceeding their fathers in courage and knowledge.

Best In Show

Congratulations, Anna!
Best in Show for Self-Portrait
First Place, Oil Painting
Second Place, Still Life

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Major Project

Well, perhaps I'll reveal my major project a little early - since the subject matter is already on another public blog. My daughter, Lauren, is now in Japan. She and fifteen other American piano students were chosen to play in the Suzuki Talent Institute's 10 Piano Concert. (For each song, 10 students will play the same song on 10 grand pianos at the same time.) She will be there much of April, staying with a Japanese family there. She was happy to find that they have a grand piano! You can read about her adventures on her blog.

My part in the project was getting her ready. "Are you sure you need all those shoes" (upon finding that her suitcase was four pounds over). I was sewing to get her recital dress a bit shorter. At the last recital, she tripped a bit on it going on-stage, and also found people stepped on the back. so I hemmed all seven layers yet again. We also were making a scrapbook for her to take showing the characters in her life and photos of our animals and house. I kept telling her that it was a measure of my love that I was willling to both sew and scrapbook at all, much less in the same week.

We were very happy to hear her lovely voice this morning, and a few details of life in Japan. She described the toilet as having many buttons she was afraid to use. When I asked what they did, she said one sprayed water on you, one was to dry (huh, a blow dryer for your bottom, who'd have thought?), and that the seat raised and lowered itself as you walk towards and away. I could see William, saying "Watch this!" and walking forward and backwards, making the lid go up and down and up and down. No, that wouldn't work here! I will leave Lauren to blog other details of her trip, but that one was too good to wait.

And speaking of her blog, the girl can WRITE!!! Over the years, I've been asked many times how to get a child to write. My answer was usually that I didn't. Lauren didn't like to write, didn't unless she had to, and I didn't try to make her. There is no curriculum that can make a child want to write, and writing, to be good, must come from a desire to do so. She has other talents, I thought. She read and does read continuously, which was enough. And then one day, she had to learn to write an essay for a college class. And she did. In one day. And then, a desire to share her trip with us. I was impressed with her word choice and imagery. And she can write.

Notes of all sorts:
I make wine from kits. I bottled the Sauvingon Blanc and started the Cabernet.

It is cold and overcast.

I am reading the Thirteenth Tale.

Dh is sharpening the blades on the lawnmower, optimistic that we might be able to get a break in the weather to cut the fluorescent grass.

Today is the airshow and Thunder over Louisville (fireworks) to celebrate the coming Kentucky Derby. Big jets are flying over my house as we are on the show's flight pattern.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Of Things to Come

I have completed my second major project. You will have to wait about a month to read about it, but to give you a clue as to the depths I was willing to go to complete it, you could have found me both sewing and scrapbooking this past week. Gasp! Such a turnover! Things I often vocally deny I will ever do again, and here I was, scrapping away.

Now, I must pick up the threads and get my life back in order, though I know not where to start. So I blog! I have taken over possession of "Lil' Boy", the miniature colt we helped birth last year. He is very studly, which is about to be rectified next Monday. I am wondering if my friend, Becky, wants me to save anything for her dinner? He is very unmannerly, likes to rear and charge, and sometimes bites. If he wasn't so small, I'd be very afraid. I am making good progress with him, but doubt he'll listen much until he is gelded. That should get his attention.

Ginny and Jorgen are back home, both ponies, while Quid remains out for training at a local farm. The grass here is fluorescent green, and we must be careful to keep them off of it most of the time.

Monday, April 07, 2008


While driving to Lexington for this past weekend's mounted games competition, I heard loud crunching sounds coming from the rear of the van.

"What is that sound?" I asked. Lauren said that she and Matthias were eating tostados.

I wondered aloud if they could be good, for they had no salt.
"Yes," replied Lauren, "but they are very jalo-peño-ey."

Before I could ponder the correctness of this word, Matthias piped in that it should be "jalo-penish".

Anna, sitting next to me in the front turned her head, with "Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww!"

We all busted out laughing.
"He said jalopen-ISH" I clarified.
We continued to laugh so hard I was in danger of wrecking the car.
Matthias turned quite red and is probably wondering what he's gotten himself into, living with us.

So now, I can tell you that one big project was this trip to Lexington where Anna rode her horse Ginny in the USMGA's Bluegrass Open competiton. She was very happy with the weekend. Getting ready for it was a challenge, for not only packing and getting the kids ready, but I was the show secretary which was complicated by many last minute changes and entries. Saturday was cold and misty, but Sunday was a beautiful day in the sun with horses at the Kentucky Horse Park. It doesn't get any better than that.

Farm Notes

I am beginning training with Roxie the miniature horse. She is learning to lay down when I say "down". She is such a treasure.

Two bigger horses will come home tomorrow: Jorgen and Ginny. Ginny has been gone for training, Jorgen was being borrowed for the competition. Quid (Lauren's horse) is going into training for a month. She was ridden this past weekend by the trainer and it was amazing to see her gallop at full speed. Just amazing.

Daisy (Lauren's dog) communicated her displeasure at being left at home by leaving a "present" on Lauren's open suitcase. I'm not sure how to train out separation anxiety.

Note to self: do not allow a six year old boy TWO Fiber One bars (with 35% of adult daily fiber needs) at 2 p.m. even if they do taste good to him and have chocolate in them unless you want to get up with said boy at 1 a.m.

Now - it is time to work on my second major project, to be disclosed at a later date.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Picky Eater

It's not my mom's fault I'm a little less than adventurous when it comes to food. I remember rejecting foods I now eat - asparagus, broccoli, spinach (I still will not eat brussel sprouts). I have expanded my horizons, but still am a bit squeamish when it comes to sea food and things that are, shall we say, unusual?

I enjoy learning new things and experimenting with the intent to continue to learn throughout my life, but I consider food adventure switching from white to brown eggs. I most certainly could not eat this. I think my friend Becky beats me hands down in the "willling to try anything to learn" category. Becky, all I can say is "why?"

As for seafood, I have biblical backing. I am listening to Deuteronomy on e-book, and it says to one can eat any fish that has fins and a tale. Lots of creatures live in the sea, but only eat fish with fins and a tale. Sounds good to me.

Farm Notes:
I believe all our topsoil is now effectively washed away.

The chickens are out this morning. They evidently survived a night of not being locked up - and are enjoying a little free-ranging. Should be fun to round them up in the rain.

I have two major projects going on right now, consuming every minute of my days. I'll blog about them soon.


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