Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Tale of Two Horses

A new friend at work got me hooked up with a friend of hers who owns multiple horses and is always looking for people to ride them. So this fellow here, has been my 'other' time killer hobby for the last few weeks. His name is Taz and he' s quite lovely. He's well behaved on the ground and when I'm on his back and he's been a very generous and patient while I relearn how to ride properly. The last time I rode in an English saddle I was in 5th grade - circa 1979. Yeah, it's been awhile. There are something like 6,987 of unused horseback riding muscles in my legs and back and they all want me to know that for almost 30 years of non use, they plan to make me pay. Ow. Ow. Ow.

My senior year in high school, my friend Lace and I used to go out to one of those 'rent a horse' places in Brandywine, Maryland. We spent so much time there that eventually I/we got talked into buying a horse. We paid $600 for this nice quarter horse - Prince - board was $140.00/month. He was a western pleasure horse and worth ten times what we paid.

You might wonder how a 17 year old could afford a horse - I had this crazy job my senior year in high school. I worked for a title company and researched judgements. I got paid by the search, not by the hour. So, if I buckled down and worked hard I could clear 1000 bucks a week. That is mad cash for a 17 year old and what else would a 17 year old spend mad cash on? Lace and I shared him, and he was well loved and well taken care of.

Riding Taz lately has had me thinking about Prince a lot and laughing, first because who sells a horse to a 17 year old and second, we never told our parents. Lace and I owned a horse for a year, and no one knew. Lace and I had a lot of secrets, and while the horse may have been the biggest in size, there are others that will never make the page of this blog or any other.

I told my mom the truth just a few years ago - she was stunned, and after shaking her head a few times, she laughed - and said she guessed if I was going to keep secrets and hide "big" things from her she was just grateful it was a horse and not a cache of guns or a coke habit.
My mom, she's cool like that.

I keep reminding myself I can't really afford another expensive hobby right now but I am enjoying it so much that I have caught myself trying to do the math in my head, the 'figuring out if I can afford it math'. Fortunately, I suck at math, so until I start putting stuff down on paper (or in an Excel spreadsheet) it's all okay.

The day I sold Prince was heartbreaking. I will never forget the woman who bought him hugging me and telling me that "he would grow old with her" - I have always hoped that is exactly what happened.

This time, if I do buy a horse, I think I'll tell my mom.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cravey Potpourri

I got a meeting reminder yesterday, the title of the meeting? US Regulatory Potpourri.
Because when you think of US Regulatory Guidelines, don’t you imagine dried flowers, cinnamon sticks and assorted twigs?
Yeah. Me neither.

However, the theme of things that do not necessarily go together is also the theme of this here post. Lately, I’ve been madly writing posts in my head, and they just never make it to my computer. Yes, I’ve been busier than usual lately, but I have never had the intention to disappear from the face of the blogosphere. Just last night, a friend popped in and made a request for a post, so since I heard a rumor that his birthday is this week, I’m going to throw some Cravey Potpourri on the stove, and leave your kitchen/living room/bathroom/library/whatever smelling all cinnamon-y or whatever that crap smells like (incidentally, I hope it’s not crap).

Saturday night, after a long, hot Saturday afternoon of dog training, and a late evening walk with the dogs, I was pulling for a little sleep-in on Sunday morning. I thought the late walk would be the kicker.

I woke up around 4 am because my puppy was whining. Irritated and still insistent that I get to sleep in (I only wanted 7 am!) I ignored him and went back to sleep. For an hour. The whining again. No! I shrieked in my head, rolled over and went back to sleep. Another hour, and this time the whining is panicked. Sent chills down my maternal-dog-spine. I shot out of bed, and couldn’t figure out where the whining was coming from. Then, in the dim light of the room, I saw brown paws, UNDER MY BED. My 80 pound pup was completely and decisively wedged under my bed. I could only imagine that while lying on his side, he somehow slid under the bed, and the righted himself onto his chest only to find he was stuck. His panic-o-meter was way too high at this point for me to coax him onto his side and slide him out, so I did what any other person would do. I bent over and picked up my queen sized, cherry bed and lifted it while calling “come, come, come, come!” realizing that my panic-o-meter was also well into the red partially due to the weight of the bed, and partially due to the realization that if I dropped it on him I’d probably kill him.

This is no way to wake yourself up on any morning.

He made it out, but hasn’t spent the night in the bedroom since. He may have been stupid to get stuck under there, but he’s smart enough to not let it happen again.

Good Boy.
Maybe I'll get that sleep in next Sunday.

Yesterday, I worked from home, to babysit the other dog, which while I was out riding horses on Sunday, broke into the kibble keeper and ate roughly 7 pounds of dry dog food.


He looked as though he had swallowed a fully inflated basketball, and was sick, sick, sick, sick for two days. A little after lunch, I ran out to vote. Made it to my little polling place and was elated to discover only a half dozen people in line ahead of me.

The first two people in line were an elderly couple; and when I say elderly, I mean older than electricity-old. Hair growing where no one ever intended it to on any man, that shuffling gait that will ever remind me of high dose of Thorazine, and the woman looked a bit too much like a shrinky dink for me to be comfortable trying to imagine her driving to the polling place.

The man appeared disgruntled. Almost as if to prove my point, as he passed me he shouted “Bullshit!”
I admit it. I giggled. I thought this was some senile turret’s syndrome outburst.
I turned my attention back to my place in line, as the old man made it back to the help desk, a few normal bits of conversation ended in the old man shouting
“I have to wait in line again because some idiot can’t read?!!”

I was no longer amused, I was actually a little concerned.

The help desk guy, the old man and his teeny wife cut in line to talk to the first volunteer apparently there was some confusion over the placement of an apostrophe in the old mans name. In the general direction of no one in particular he shouted
“I’ve had an apostrophe in my name since the day I was born!” (sidebar: roughly 1657)
to which the volunteer calmly replied
“Sir, how would I have known that?”
which was quickly responded to repeatedly with

My concern grew.

The third time the old man shouted that another elderly woman (was I at the polling place for retired cast members of Cocoon?) tottered into the community center wearing an apron with a button that proclaimed she was the “CHIEF JUDGE”..she approached the increasingly red faced old man and said
“hey now, let’s quiet down here”

I was almost hiding in the corner at this point envisioning what looked like a imminent rumble, I could almost smell the Ben-Gay, old people feet, and hear the crack of pelvic bones - but it worked - the Chief Judge/old gal pushed all the right buttons and the old man did indeed quiet down.

After all this excitement I could barely focus on the actual ballot. I make a pretty good effort to keep up with politics on the local and national level, but I admit that yesterday on my ballot? There were people running for offices that I knew nothing about. Zero. Had never seen or heard their name before. I handled this very badly. Somewhere our forefathers are spinning in their graves. I selected my candidates by their names. Fred? Oh yes, I have a great friend named Fred, he’s got to be the right choice! and Kristen?, yes she’s awesome, she sold my house in Virginia.

I know I know. I can barely walk around with all this shame.

Happy Birthday Mr. Turkey.