Getting out of my comfort zone with Emmie’s First Show!

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The week before Halloween was very busy. There was a lot going on in my house-my son had baseball practice on Monday, a make up game on Tuesday and I had a class party at work on Thursday and Friday. I had seen an advertisement posted for a local play day for the upcoming Saturday at the hardware store, but I didn’t know what I would feel like at the end of my busy week. When I woke up early Friday morning, I decided to contact a local trainer, Candee Coffee, and ask of there was still time for me to turn in an entry form. She said that I could, so after work Friday, I went to her stables and filled out my form. Then I went to Inyokern to take care of some business. I went by the hardware store to pick up a few needed items on the way out, and finally I was able to get my horse out and ride her.  I clipped her in preparation for the show and washed her mane and tail. After she was all braided and ready for the next day with her blanket, neck wrap, fly mask, etc., I began packing my horse trailer with everything I was going to need. Now, getting a horse ready for a show is no small feat. There are endless details to consider, to remember, and bring with you. And the truth is, I had tricked myself into it by waiting until the last minute so nerves would not set in during the week. Finally, everything was done and I was able to sleep from about ten at night until four in the morning on Saturday. I got up at five and continued putting my show clothes and the rest of my tack in my car and I drove to Inyokern to get hooked up to my trailer and to load my horse. The woman who I board with helped me with the hard parts–this was the first time I had taken my horse to an event and I was really out of my comfort zone, but I knew that we had practiced enough and were ready and you can never get comfortable with something until you do do it–until you show up! My horse was so good at the show. She was a little nervous at first, probably it was me more than her, but we both relaxed as they day went on. And, I took home five ribbons out of six classes–a first, two seconds, a third and a fifth place. I wish that i could take all the credit, but we are a team and she gets as much as I do. Thank you to Candee Coffee and everyone who made the day special. Did I mention that it was Halloween? It was, and There were kids and horses in costumes for some of the classes. What a day!!

A trip to Laguna Beach!

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I was supposed to leave for a trip to Laguna Beach the Friday before last, but was delayed in my departure by some thunder storms Friday afternoon. I was attending a conference over the weekend that started early Saturday morning. The drive Saturday morning was very quiet and uneventful and I was taken up with my conference until Sunday mid-day. After the conference was over, I drove into the town and parked because I wanted to spend a little time in the town before I left for home. Orange County is a very beautiful place over all, and I am always partial to ocean side communities, but Laguna Beach has a wonderful unique vibe of its own. It’s an art centered community and there are art galleries all over the town. They were having a Plein Air painting festival, and there were artists with easels scattered about the town, capturing the outdoor activities with various mediums. The roads in Laguna are also a form of artistic expression–you can find yourself driving in circles around your destination before some kind-hearted Laguna resident points you in the right direction, and parking is also a bit of a conundrum. After taking a few turns through town, I found a quiet place to park in front of the City Hall. The City Hall is a beautiful historic building with lush vegetation. It took me a little while to figure out the high tech parking meters. As I sat studying one to see just exactly how I was supposed to pay with my card, a nice passerby was taking notes behind me. She was as bemused as I was. But finally, success. I walked downtown and into the first art gallery I had ever been in in Laguna Beach. A local artist showed me around the gallery, where some of her own art was on display. I walked down to the beach to take a quick walk, just wanting to touch the sand with my feet–to smell the ocean and to hear its sounds. As I walked along the shore–the part where it is damp from recent waves, but you are not going to get wet, I was thinking about how getting wet would not be a good idea, because I wanted to eat lunch in a nearby restaurant before heading home. Just as I was thinking this, a big wave crashed through a family who was playing in the ocean with their dog and then right into my calves and then went past me. We all laughed, realizing that what happens at the beach is an adventure that we are not in control of. After my walk at the beach, I had a nice lunch at a restaurant facing the water. Laguna Beach is a very interesting and beautiful place.

A funny story about whale watching.

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I decided to accompany my son’s fifth grade class on a field trip to Long Beach towards the end of his school year last year. I drove separately, because the school bus was very full with three fifth grade classes, and met the children at our first adventure of the day–whale watching. As we all boarded the boat, there was a lot of excitement as we expectantly awaited the viewing of whales and other creatures of the sea.The first hour was spent with children running to different parts of the boat and parents with their eyes searching for any sign of a whale. About an hour into our journey, as we traveled deeper into the ocean, the general morale of the group had changed. The passengers were no longer concerned with viewing any wildlife. About half of them were not feeling so well. As I sat quietly while various children and adults were tossing their cookies over bow and stern, I wondered exactly why–as someone had told me–the fifth grade makes this trip every year. I was happy to know there was only about an hour separating us from the harbor and was relieved when we set our feet back on the shore. How many whales did we see? None, but we moved on to the Long Beach Aquarium, which is really a wonderful place. This was my first visit to this aquarium and I really enjoyed it. The fifth graders started out with a squid dissection lab and then we toured the aquarium afterwards. There were all kinds of wonderful aquarium exhibits–my favorite of these were the various jellyfish. I also liked the touch tanks, where we were able to touch a variety of baby sharks. As I drove home with my son after the field trip was over, we reminisced about the events of the day. What did each of us like about the aquarium, etc. I asked my son, considering the nature of the whale watching trip, what his thoughts were about it. As we recalled the various children and adults tossing their cookies, and the others who were laying horizontal for the latter portion of the trip, and the scarcity of whale viewings, we both began to laugh and my son said, “It brings a whole new meaning to the saying ‘there she blows.'”

Purple is so pretty in the summer, but I am ready for orange!

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I was out doing some watering in Inyokern–a town close to where I live. It’s very peaceful to walk around the property in the afternoon. I can hear the sounds of leaves rustling in the wind and of birds having their quiet conversations. As I walked around, I noticed that there were several plants still blooming, as if it was early summer. One of the plants was this butterfly bush, with several purple blossoms like the one in this picture. Usually I really enjoy the colors of summer, but in late September, with sweat dripping down my face, I really would like to see some signs of fall. This purple bloom would seem to suggest that summer will not loosen its grip. I am ready for pumpkins and leaves with changing colors; for the cool crisp mornings of fall–for sweater weather. Even though we have passed the first day of fall on the calendar, each day lately has been close to a hundred degrees and the humidity has been pretty high for the desert. As I finished the watering that needed to be done, I saw some bright pink blossoms on a Crepe Myrtle and some more purple blossoms on the Texas Ranger plants around the property. With so little evidence of fall on the property, I was not very hopeful, until… I was in the back yard, looking at the leaves of a Sycamore tree that were just beginning to dry out. As I was standing there, one leaf blew off the tree and floated slowly to the ground. That leaf will have to be enough to tide me over for now and the rest will come soon enough.

It’s nice to have a cat in your menagerie!

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About two years ago, my son and I were feeling sad about something. I was in my living room and the thought came to me that having a cat around might cheer us up. About five minutes later, my daughter texted me from a local Albertsons to say that a family was trying to find a home for a kitten. So I thought, O.K.–maybe this is our cat. There are two Albertsons in my town and I didn’t know which one my daughter had texted me from. I tried texting her to find out–but she didn’t answer. So on a hunch I went to the one closest to where I live. It was late at night, around nine, and there was hardly anyone in the store. My son and I walked up and down the isles until we saw a family and sure enough the kitten was with them. We took him home. He is a Siamese and Tabby mix–very beautiful with blue eyes. My son loves wolves and named him Wolfy, because he looks a lot like a wolf. I call him Baby because he adopted me as his mom right away. Whenever I lay down on my bed or the couch, he gets on my chest and lays down and purrs and rubs his face against mine. He presence has added so much to my house. Sometimes he runs around doing crazy things. Sometimes he gets into a cabinet and then I run around trying to find him. He doesn’t make any noise to help me in my search–is this his version of kitty hide and seek? Sometimes he sticks his fangs inside my flesh or his claws into my yoga mat, and I have a frowny face for a while. Sometimes I wonder what he is up to during the night, because this morning I awoke to find my phone and internet receiver unplugged. But, mostly he is a good boy and and I like having him around. One thing is for sure, whether or not I agree, he thinks he runs my house. If I challenge his opinion of himself, I might find something in my closet that I used to like, but will never be the same again. Oh well–he can think what he wants.

Sometimes inspiration comes from an unexpected source!

bulls

I have a horse that is bred to work cattle, and she was always pretty savvy about interacting with cows in general. When I brought her to a cowhorse event in Salinas, there were several bulls with the other livestock and she intuitively kept her distance from them. I also have a good friend of the family who worked on a ranch for a long time and I remember that he rounded up a pair of bulls one day with a pistol. So, I always knew not to get too close to one.  Well–I was browsing through Pinterest like I like to do looking for craft ideas and recipes, and I saw a picture of a bull standing on his hands and he was vertical in the air. How have I missed this bull before now? I guess with my busy schedule, I have not kept up with PBR and watched bull riding the way I would like. And that’s o.k., but when I saw this picture my jaw just dropped and I plugged his name in the search engine to see some more images. I have been to rodeos and watched horses that could buck (!!!) and bulls with some pretty nice moves, but Asteroid is taking it to another level. And so now I am a fan. In the realm of professional athletes, you might think of basketball players and football players, but what about the animal athletes? They deserve their credit too. After looking at the pictures of Asteroid, I went to the PBR website to see when the next event would be close to California. I want to get an eye full of this bull in person. When I looked at the website, I saw that both the cowboys and bulls were listed in the category of athletes. It looks like there is an event coming up in Las Vegas in October and then the National Finals Rodeo will be there in December. I don’t know if I will make it to either of these events, but If I do–Asteroid, I want your autograph!

Even when you think you don’t want to–do it and you will be glad you did!

I want to share this because even at the end of the week when there has been so much going on and I feel like I just need to relax, but there are still things to do and I may not want to do them, I find when I do them anyway, I’m glad when I’m done. August is a month for adjustments. Getting used to the new–it seems like everything is getting settled this time of year, getting back to school, with some changes at home and so on. We had some very hot weather, but it seems like things are just about to cool down as we head into September. I can feel the promise of Fall just around the corner and I know that my schedule will soon settle into a rhythm. After a busy week at work, I spent Friday evening on the couch with a little television. Saturday morning I was up cleaning and Saturday afternoon I was out with the horses. On my way out to the horses, I just really didn’t feel up to it. I wanted to stay in the house and relax, but I knew they needed their time out, so off I went. After I got the first one out and I was riding for a while, I started to feel that sense of fulfillment that I feel when I’m spending that time with them. After that was a bath, and then time for my second horse. I was really trying to enjoy the moment, especially after the sun was started going down. There was a beautiful sunset, and the temperature was starting to drop. Aaaaaaaaah! It’s sort of like cleaning the house. When I get started, it’s not fun. But afterwards, I am so glad I did it. And, I get to enjoy a clean house. After I am out with the horses, I have a peaceful sense of accomplishment–of time well spent–and they are happy too!

happy horse