Blog .:. December 2008 7 Entries

It’s that time of the year again…

31 December 2008 Comments

No, not New Year’s Resolutions. I never keep those, so making them is sort of silly. Why set myself up for failure?

I’m talking about the “weird search terms that bring people to this site” post. Without further ado:

Yeah, I think I’m pretty super, too. Thanks! (Is that enough ego for everyone?)
general view on pseudo saints
Well, if we assume that every religion has another religion that holds opposing and contradictory views, I think it is safe to also assume that for every saint one religion claims, there is another religion that will claim they are not really a saint. Therefor, generally, it’s safe to conclude all saints are considered pseudo saints by someone, somewhere.
the metaphors of stopping by the woods on a snowy evening
The poem is about death. All Robert Frost poems are about death. If you’re a high school student, you will impress your teacher with this statement, because most high school students seem to think Robert Frost is a fuzzy, bunnies-and-lambs kind of poet. He really isn’t. It’s all death-death-death, more death, and the occasional filling-time-before-death. Bit disturbing, really.
olympic cross country coarse video utube
Most YouTube videos are coarse. I’m sure it has to do with the compression algorithm they use. This person would have been better off searching for ‘course’. And ‘YouTube’ instead of ‘utube’ might have helped—can’t find what you want when you look on the wrong site.
can a grey mare and a chestnut stallion have a black foal
Yes! I’m just happy I know the answer to this one. If the grey mare only has one copy of the dominant grey gene and has at least one copy of the black gene, she can pass on the black gene but not the grey gene, which will give the foal a black base (regardless of the stallion’s chestnut color, because black is dominant and chestnut recessive). However, if either the mare or stallion has the agouti modifier and passes that on, then the foal will be bay. And, yes, the agouti modifier can be carried by a chestnut horse—- it just doesn’t show, since there’s no black for it to affect. That’s a lot of ‘ifs’, so I don’t know what the chances are here, but it’s certainly possible.
i want to halt someone s computer
Interesting phrasing. Also interesting: the legal repercussions. I wouldn’t try this, if I were you.
am i a crazy person
Probably. Most people are.
how to find out if a horse had been injured in the passed?
I don’t know. What did the horse pass (or what passed the horse)? What happened immediately after—was a vet called? Did anyone look concerned? Did life go on as usual?
why i learned to
It’s a build your own query, apparently: Why I learned to… finish a sentence. Why I learned to… rob ducks. Why I learned to… eat peanut butter. Why I learned to… become a super spy.
appliques popsicles
I wouldn’t recommend it. The Popsicles will melt, and you’ll be left with just a wooden stick and a sticky mess.
how to teach your horse half-pirouette
Oh, lord. There are always “how to teach your horse…” entries, but they keep getting more and more advanced. People! Find a trainer! Random, anonymous bloggers on the interwebz? Not qualified to be your trainer! If they were qualified, they wouldn’t be random or anonymous! I’m both random and (mostly) anonymous, so I should know!
difference between a half past and leg yield
One is a time of day… actually 24 different times of the day, one for each hour… and the other is a First Level dressage movement.
is that a zebra
Does it have stripes?
you won t believe this
Actually, after reading the list of search terms for this blog, I feel pretty jaded and cynical. I bet I will believe it.


Where do you draw the line between proactive checking and stalking?

29 December 2008 Comments

I am a notoriously bad communicator.

No, really. Some of family just learned I moved to Texas. They are furious with me for not telling them sooner. I’m not sure what they expected—for a long time, the standing joke was that no one knew what country I was in at any given time, so it’s not like I moved overseas (again) and didn’t tell anyone (again). I’m in the same country still. You’d think that would count for something.

Apparently not. Whoops.

Anyway, as a bad communicator, I have to admit that when I read forum posts from breeders or former owners saying “I sold my horse to someone in city/state and haven’t heard how they are doing; would someone go check on them?” I get a little creeped out. No, I get a lot creeped out.

I understand the motivation—people want to keep track of their former horses and make sure they stay in good situations. That’s great.

The thought of asking people you do not know to go spy on someone because you want to know how the horse is doing? That’s creepy. At that point, the breeder’s “I want to know” sense of entitlement is overriding the owner’s right to privacy.

I think my issue with all of this is the language used. There’s a difference, for me, in someone saying “Hey, I used to own this horse and want to know if anyone has heard anything recently about her, because I’ve lost touch” and “I used to own this horse and the current owner refuses to communicate with me, so someone go spy on them and tell me what I want to know!” In the first case, you’re only asking about what knowledge people already have—and if the horse has been on the show scene, there probably is public knowledge about how the horse is doing. In the second case, you’re asking total strangers to proactively invade someone else’s privacy.

It’s semantics, I know. The intention is probably the same either way—and I really do think it’s great that breeders want to keep track of how their horses are doing—but the second creeps me out considerably more than the first. Knowing a breeder had gone online and asked the second, quite honestly, would make me immediately cross that breeder off my list of people to talk to when I’m ready to buy a horse. The semantics of it bother me that much. They probably shouldn’t, but they do.


The renovation of an old horse property

21 December 2008 Comments

I went to a Christmas party last night at a house that had been a horse property until they bought and renovated everything. Apparently it had all be pretty run down, but the husband works in construction and knew what had to be done to fix everything.

The house is absolutely gorgeous now. The outside is a pretty stone, and the inside is all stone and wood. It’s not a very large house, but they opened up some rooms and the main area has very high ceilings, so it feels much larger than it is. One thing I noticed is that they replaced the plain white doors you usually have for bedrooms/bathrooms/etc. with some lovely honey-colored wood doors, and that made a huge difference in the way the house looked. I’m thinking the first “unnecessary” renovation I’m going to do when I buy a place will be to put some pretty doors in.

Then, I did say this had been a horse property, right? The house is on the front part of the property and you drive through to the back part. You can see where the arena used to be because the lights are still there, but they took down the arena and put in a garden. There’s a huge round pen that I think he actually renovated and reroofed, so that will be staying up although not used for round penning, obviously.

And then the barn. Oh, the barn. It was converted into a garage. All the stalls were taken out and the barn now houses some classic cars and the tools to work on said cars. But it’s wonderfully decorated; the owner said it has everything he’s been collecting but had no place to put. This barn is clearly a man’s paradise, and although he can work on his cars here, he can also entertain his friends. There’s a bar, what looked like an entertainment center, some seating, etc. There’s even a little apartment in what probably used to be the tack and feed rooms, complete with a tiny kitchen. It doesn’t look like what you’d think of as a garage, in other words.

And now for the cool part. These people aren’t horsey at all, which is why everything got renovated and the barn is now a classic car garage. However, when you walk in you can immediately see where all the stalls used to be. Apparently, the only concrete in the barn was under the stall walls. He left that concrete intact and poured new concrete everywhere else. Since the old concrete is a different color due to age, you can still see where the stalls used to be. There’s even a little space between the old and new concrete filled with some sort of filler stuff (that’s the technical term for it) so it’s really obvious where the stalls where, and it’ll always be obvious. He could have ripped it all out and poured in new concrete everywhere, so I think it’s awesome that he left in the concrete that marked off the stalls.

The walls, from what I gathered, used to be just the metal barn walls, but he went out and bought the wood from an old barn and has paneled his barn’s inside walls with it. So you walk in and see this great weathered wood. You can even see where some of the wood must have been painted that ubiquitous red-barn color in the past, although it’s all well faded now.

So even though the barn is a garage now, he hasn’t tried to erase the fact that it used to be a barn. It’s sad that what must have been a great little horse property is not a horse property any longer, but on the other hand—he’s updated and worked with the structures to retain something of what they used to be while making them into something he can use for his own interests. If someone absolutely has to renovate, this is the way to go.


Half Baked Rambling

19 December 2008 Comments

I mentioned baking at work today, and one of my coworkers stared at me in disbelief. I guess I don’t come across as a baking kind of person.

That’s ok. I’m not a baking kind of person. There are only two recipes in life I need to be able to bake: the Funny Cake recipe from my dad’s side of the family and the birthday cake recipe from my mom’s side of the family. I can bake the Funny Cakes. I do them very well.

I have been trying for ten years to bake the birthday cake, and it has not come out right yet. I’ve been told I will be a “true” [mother’s maiden name] when I can bake the birthday cake, but if that’s what it takes, I hope no one is holding their breath waiting for me to join the ranks of the few, the proud, the Masters of the Chocolate Cake. I am the Master of the Brown Lump That Tastes Like Tin. Except last year. Last year I was the Master of the Runny Goop That Would Not Set Until It Burned And Set Off The Smoke Alarm.

However, it is Christmas, which means it is time for me to bake the Funny Cakes. These are, if you haven’t heard of them, something like a heavy vanilla cake in a pie shell with chocolate sauce that soaks through and makes a lining between the pie shell and cake. And there are nuts involved. Well, edible nuts, not just me.

It makes a great dessert and an even better breakfast.

I always make it for Christmas. It’s the one tradition I have. I also make it for my birthday, to console myself for once again failing to achieve chocolate cake. I swear my relatives have left out a secret ingredient in the chocolate cake recipe. I think it’s some kind of test. I am never going to pass that test.

Never mind. Tomorrow I bake. I know all the secrets to the Funny Cake recipe. And that means it’s officially the holiday season. Just in case you missed all the other clues, like the bad music clogging the airways and the antlers on peoples’ cars (I find the sheer number of antlered cars disturbing, for the record), and the million ads telling you that if you don’t buy your loved ones something sparkly for Christmas, they’ll never forgive you.

You know what I bought myself for Christmas? A tire rod for my car.

Not my first choice of gifts, but it’s sort of hard to drive a car when the steering wheel is canted a quarter turn to the right and the tires are squealing even on a straight road. I didn’t have much choice, really. At least the shop was able to get me in quickly and had it repaired in a day.

Hm. Good mechanics are hard to find. I wonder if they would like a Funny Cake. Do people overwhelm their mechanics with food for the holidays, the way vet and doctor offices get overwhelmed?


How not to be a popsicle

17 December 2008 Comments

I have decided that after years of enduring cold weather in the Frozen Northlands I am entitled to be as much of a wimp about the cold as I want to be. Oh, sure, I could scoff at the weather Texans call “cold” and tell you stories about real cold. Oh, all those school mornings when the first thing we did was go out and start up the car so that by the time we were ready to leave the window would be defrosted and we could grab the steering wheel without risking frostbite. Of course, we didn’t really drive cars to school. We walked uphill, both ways, through blinding blizzards, and stopped on the way home to kill wolves for dinner. With our bare hands.

Point is: I know what cold is like. And I have no desire to be cold ever again, thank you very much.

Which is why, when I realized the temperatures were unlikely to get over 45 degrees today, I went and bought a cooler for the horse on my lunch break. Actually, it wasn’t for the horse. It was for me. And according to the tack store lady, it wasn’t a cooler, it was a dress sheet. Whatever. She says dress sheet, I say cooler. She has my money, I have a fleecy thing that is going to keep me warm. Everyone’s happy.

And out to the barn, where I tacked up and headed out to the arena, cooler tossed over the horse and the saddle.

There were a couple riders in big puffy jackets who all looked much colder than I felt, so even though I was being a wimp about it being 45 degrees, apparently I haven’t wholly acclimated to Texas weather yet. I had the cooler tossed over the saddle when I lead Rogue in, and they were all watching me. No idea what they were thinking, but they were certainly intrigued.

I mounted and wrapped the cooler over my legs to keep my lower body warm as well as Rogue’s back. And then, I think, the other riders figured out what I was doing. They thought this whole riding-with-a-cooler thing was a great idea.

I am somewhat bemused that what is a common-place event from my Northern days is apparently a unique phenomenon here.

You know what this means?

It doesn’t stay cold long enough for people to have to think about ways to keep warm while riding.

Yeah, yeah. It’s Texas. It’s not supposed to stay cold. “Not staying cold” is the reason I moved here. That doesn’t mean I believed it.

I had no idea riding with a cooler was so novel.

Incidentally, I have been telling people since I moved here that it would snow this winter. My coworkers scoffed at me. I insisted. They dismissed me. Yeah? It snowed.

And thus my record continues: every time I move, it snows that first winter. It’s a special talent I have, this bringing-of-the-snow. Even in Houston.

This is how I know the gods have a sense of humor. It’s sick, but they have one.

Tagged: Horses

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