Blog .:. November 2009 7 Entries

It’s what day, again?

26 November 2009 Comments

Earlier this week, a friend emailed me apologizing profusely for missing our meeting on Saturday.

Our meeting? I thought hard. I was sure we were meeting the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I can be pretty clueless about holidays, but even I usually manage to notice when Thanksgiving rolls around. I didn’t think it had. Had it? We had weeks…. I checked the calendar and about choked. This weekend?!

I need weeks still. I have too much to do. It cannot be nearly December already. I cannot think ahead to Thanksgiving. It is 8:00 the night before Thanksgiving, and I still can’t think that far ahead.

I have to… I have to… I have to… is drumming through my head, with I forgot to… I forgot to… I forgot to… threading through as a dark melody. It’s not necessarily work. I forgot to email a recipe to my aunt. I forgot to bring some boots out to the barn for a kid to try out. I forgot to pick up kitty litter, and I have to do that because not doing that will be… have to, forgot to.

I need a vacation. When is Thanksgiving?

Oh, right. Tomorrow. I have to… I have to…

On the other hand, in all the chaos, progress continues. Gabi and I are working on our homework: she shouldn’t throw her shoulder in trot transitions, I need to stop raising my heel. We’re improving. Interestingly, the “equitation goes to crap on a green horse” theory doesn’t apply to her. She doesn’t spook; she doesn’t bolt. There’s no need to ride in a defensive position. She loves a very soft, giving hand and a quiet seat and leg. She figures things out, so if I exaggerate the aids a time or two to get the idea, we can then go back to quiet, quiet, quiet. She’s an amazing horse; you have no idea how lucky I am to be riding her. The point: the better my leg is (not raising the heel and shifting my weight weirdly), the straighter she is. Therefor, the less shoulder throwing. And our new trick - shoulder out for a step before the trot transition - has done wonders. Progress, progress.

And I bought a Wii.

That occurred in a fit of funk, after I saw my credit card bill. The trips I’ve had to take this year have killed my budget worse than a stake through a vampire’s heart, so, you know, it made sense to buy a Wii. This is how the national debt happened, I think: Crap. We owe our soul to the world. Ok, build another tank or two. If we’re going down, let’s go down with things that go BOOM in the night..

It’s true what they say about Wii Fit, by the way: stand on the balance board and it groans. Well, at me. Maybe not you. It makes me laugh. People who get offended by that need to get a sense of humor. I’ll be honest—Wii Fit is about as useful for losing weight as fishing (in theory, possibly, but no one in the world is actually going to engage in the exercise long enough for it to be an effective weight loss program). It is great as a balance check, and useful for checking form on the yoga and strength exercises. But for cardio or even doing a sustained yoga routine to really stretch out? No. Definitely not. I’m still doing most of my workout off the Wii and just using the Wii to chart progress and play with the balance games. I’m making progress. Slow, steady progress. Exactly where I want to be.

I have to… I forgot…—Other than really, really needing to get kitty litter, there’s nothing that can’t be sorted out later. My life is not falling apart, although that would make for a far more dramatic blog post. Run to the store, email my aunt the recipe, call my friend re: Saturday. I can catch up. And catch up. And catch up.

But if tomorrow really is Thanksgiving, I’m going to start by catching up on sleep. Now that is something to be thankful for.

Tagged: Cats, Computers & Gadgets, Holidays, Horses, Horses - Gabi, Living & Eating Better, Riding

This is just to say

23 November 2009 Comments

I have watched
your mare
that was in
the roundpen

and which
you were probably
asking
to walk forward

Forgive her—
your cues were so bad
even I
couldn’t read them

Tagged: Horses, Poetry, This is just to say by Williams, William Carlos Williams, Writing

Why I Don’t Read Dickens

11 November 2009 Comments

I’m interrupting my self-imposed sabbatical because my plan—a gloriously stolen hour of reading—has been derailed before it ever really started. I was confused, you see, and thought my dislike of Charles Dickens had to do with, I don’t know, being forced to read him in high school, when all classical literature was evil. I was wrong; even in high school, I had impeccable sense. I present to you the opening of Oliver Twist:

Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.

Or: “Oliver Twist was born in a common workhouse.” If you aren’t clear on that point, I’m sure Dickens would be happy to tell you about more details that he won’t be telling you about (oh, the abuse of praeteritio!).

For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and trouble, by the parish surgeon, is remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child would survive to bear any name at all; in which case it is somewhat more than probable that these memoirs would be never have appeared; or, if they had, that being comprised within a couple of pages, they would have possessed the inestimable merit of being the most concise and faithful specimen of biography, extant in the literature of any age or country.

I will leave you to muse on the happy thought of Oliver Twist never having been written. I am still choking on “concise.”

Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a workhouse, is in itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance that can possibly befall a human being, I do mean to say that in this particular instance, it was the best thing for Oliver Twist that could possibly have occurred.

Where was the story at? Oh yes: “Oliver Twist was born in a common workhouse.” We can now add: “Luckily.”

Skim, skim, skim, difficulty breathing, mattress, gasping baby, the possibility of dying if anyone who loved him had been around, never fully explained… skim, skim, skim… ah:

The result was, that, after a a few struggles, Oliver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise to the inmates of the workhouse the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could reasonably have been expected from a male infant who had not been possessed of that very useful appendage, a voice, for much longer than a space of time than three minutes and a quarter.

Now, really? Three minutes and a quarter? It’s taken longer than that to get this far! And for an author so incredibly reluctant to name details, three minutes and a quarter is awfully precise. No wonder no one was trying to help the poor baby breathe; they were standing around with stopwatches.

So now we have the story up to: “Oliver Twist was born in a common workhouse. Luckily. Loving relatives would have smothered him, but when the world ignored his desperate gasps for help, he gave the world a swift kick in the nuts in return and took charge of his own lungs.”

That’s nice, isn’t it? Does it tell you how enthralled I am with this book that I gave up and blogged instead?

Tagged: Books & Reading, Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, Oliver Twist by Dickens

It Would Take a Cyclops

9 November 2009 Comments

A good friend passed away last weekend, and fortunately I was able to go home for the funeral.

Since the trip was (obviously) a last-minute thing, my tickets were insanely stupid. I understand the whole hub concept with airlines, but I will never understand the apparent fascination with sending me east to go west. Fortunately, when I checked in, the ticket agent also thought my itinerary was beyond stupid, and he managed to cut out one of the three flights. The cost: I’d have a five-hour layover and wouldn’t actually arrive any sooner.

Five hours in an airport beats five hours in a plane, however, and I was thrilled with the new itinerary.

The ticket agent forgot to mention that the airport had not one but two Cinnabons in it. This is surely cruel and inhumane. Every time I thought, “Oh, it’s ok if I cheat…,” I walked the airport. This plan was brilliant, except for two minor issues: about the time I was over my temptation, I’d hit the second Cinnabons and go through it all over again. And I was not wearing walking shoes. My foot is one big blister.

But I didn’t eat any sugar, and that’s something.

I also overheard someone say, “It would take a Cyclops,” and I honestly almost turned around to ask him what the hell would take a Cyclops. I mean, in what situation would you require a one-eyed monster? True, the elder Cyclops—giants from the time of the Titans, who, when freed by Zeus, did useful things like forging him thunderbolts—could be useful. But most people don’t know about them. They only know about the younger Cyclops, specifically Polyphemus, so famously blinded by Odysseus. He was sheep herder. Thunderbolt forger, sheep herder… they aren’t at all the same thing, really.

I didn’t ask, so I share with you now. Let your imagination run rampant. If you had a Cyclops, what exactly would you be able to achieve that you couldn’t previously?

In other news, you’ll be pleased to know I have one of the all-time top scores for the trivia game on the flight home. This amazed my seat mate, who had confided to me earlier that the game was amazingly hard. This is probably true, unless you (luckily) hit a round that is all literary and classical questions, with some easily-guessed pop culture references. Well, lucky for me, anyway. With the high score won, I quit playing lest a round come up with (horrors) sports questions and my ignorance be revealed.

And my brilliant plan to surprise my family with my weight loss is shot, since the first thing my mom said when she saw me was “You look great!” While gratifying—who doesn’t like to be complimented?—there goes my brilliant plan. Now I have to come up with something new for Christmas.

Although the trip wasn’t for a happy reason, there were good moments. I dropped in at my old barn, to find my favorite foal (a three-year old now!) was as irresistible as ever. He’s a hunter to the bone and coming along very nicely from all accounts. Not that I ever doubted it.

I’m back home now, trying to catch up—I missed a lot of work last week—and probably won’t be updating for a while. This week has been exhausting, this year has been exhausting, and short of mind-boggling references to Cyclopses, I have no idea what I would say.

My friend was a great guy, and he will be greatly missed. I will be back, and he will not. I’m not sure what else there is to say.

Tagged: Cyclops, Horses, Odysseus, Polyphemus, Titans - Ancient Greek Gods, Travel, Zeus

With apologies to Cake Wrecks

2 November 2009 Comments

I realize Cake Wrecks does this better than I ever could, but I was reading their blog, and thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll get a designer cake for my birthday this year, since it’s a birthday that ends in zero and the world seems to think those are significant.” Eventually I googled my way to “horse cakes” and.. well, let me share, ok?

Horse Lying Down

My cat often lies down in this position. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a horse do so. Cute cake, except for the disturbing legs.

Horse Impersonating Superman

I cannot fault the expression on the horse’s face. And why is it wearing a blue collar? Has anyone talked to the owners about getting all that fungus on its lower legs treated?

And I challenge you to imagine the proportions if the horse were standing up. No, really. Take a minute and try to picture it.

You’re going to need to scroll down for this next one, but it’s creepily worth it:

Even cake decorators are fascinated by horses’ eyes

Have you noticed that people who take pictures of horses have a tendency to take close-up pictures of their eyes? I think it has to do with the horse having the largest eye of any land mammal. That, and all the “eye is the window of the soul” stereotyping that goes on. So this cake decorator did the same thing—took a close-up picture of the horse’s eye. Presumably, they are showing off the detail work. What they have shown is that things get very, very creepy very, very quickly when you stick a human eye on a horse.

And look at the next one down, too—are anteaters crossed with horses the new It thing?

And now for some Fun with Photoshop

Again, scroll down until you find the horse in the garden. Say what? Who would put a cake in a garden? Well, no one—but someone Photoshopped it in. Why?

Oh, that’s why.

Here’s another sculpted horse, this time not Photoshopped into a garden. No, this horse appears to be sunk up to its ankles in…well, let’s hope it’s mud. If I had to choose between a Photoshopped garden and… mud…, I’d find a garden background, too.

This is just cute.

Sure, that forelock is a braider’s nightmare, but the the cake is very cute.

If you look at all the sites these cakes come from, you’ll see the cake makers are actually all really talented. Just, apparently, not at making horses. And these are some of the best (as in quality) cakes I could find.

There are worse out there.

Tagged: Cooking Eating & Food, Horses, Interwebz, Sites to See

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