Tuesday, July 15, 2014


So the woman who 1/2 leases the horse we now own took him to an event in Wyoming last weekend, and the two of them took 6th place!  She is a really nice lady and she just couldn't stop saying nice things about Bones.   She said he didn't refuse anything, and obviously performed really well.  It was her first real competition.  She did the Intro level, someone told me that means she won't be nationally ranked, but she was still thrilled.   She sent me this picture.

Awww they are so cute!!!!

She is leasing Bones until her own horse comes in, sometime in August.  But she loves him very much.       I hope she likes her new horse a lot, but Bones will be a tough act to follow!

I Can Prove Global Warming is REAL

When we lived in the valley I developed a system of air flow management in order to maintain a comfortable temperature inside our house.  When it got to be 80 degrees in the house I would turn on the swamp cooler above the kitchen table which would send gale force cooling winds through the house.  80 degrees was my breaking point, anything above 80 was too darned hot and I simply couldn't stand it.  We lived in an old house that did not have central air on the main floor.  It did have it upstairs, thank all things holy, because the upstairs had been remodeled in an era of sanity.  The swamp cooler wasn't perfect but it did move the air around, and it raised the humidity in the horribly dry air and it made me feel better.  It also cleaned all the girl's artwork off the fridge and anything not nailed down was blown all over, but you get used to that.  If I turned the swamp cooler on just after dinner and ran it all night, it would drop the temperature in the house enough so that it wouldn't reach 80 degrees until I was making dinner the next day.  Sure, I closed up the house and drew the blinds like a hermit when I got up, and we all put on sweatshirts to to eat breakfast in, but it made the house tolerable.

Then we moved up to the mountains. It's supposed to be much cooler up here, so 35 years ago when this house was built it didn't get central air.  And the homeowners association thinks we're way too classy to allow for window air conditioners.  So when it hits 83 degrees or warmer in the house by 4:00 or 5:00, I start to melt.  I am not actively sweating, but I become a heat slug.  I can't think, I can't function, I don't clean, cook, or much of anything.   All I can do is sit and feel lethargic and be miserable.

It is even warmer upstairs where the bedrooms are.  "Intolerable" on the main floor is usually my clue to start airflow management procedures, which involve going upstairs, where temperatures are reaching 87 or so, and turning on the mobile swamp cooler we bought last year - it does help.  It is in the master bedroom. I need one for Red's bedroom too.  I open the windows at the back of the house, load up the swamp cooler with water, and crank it to high.  By the time we go upstairs to bed, the temperatures can drop down into the low to mid 70s.  75 is uncomfortable to try and get to sleep, but as the night goes on it will drop a few degrees cooler.

After I turn on the fans and the swamp cooler, I go down and hide in the basement, where the temperature is in the high 60s or low 70s already.  There isn't much to do down there but sleep or watch TV or read.  

I should be packing or cleaning, but I just can't seem to find the motivation for any of that.  I just want to melt.  It's an amazing effort just to type this.  It's time to start heat management but I do not look forward to that climb up the stairs into worse heat than I'm sitting in now.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Psuedonyms

I have been trying to call my girls Thing 1 and Thing 2 and in many ways it works, as I think of them that way and we got matching Dr. Seuss shirts!  That they long ago grew out of.

But I reread my old entries and it is Just Confusing.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 are so similar that it is easy to mix them up and I find it confusing, even when I know who I'm talking about.

From Now On I am going to call them by their hair color, as it has been a distinguishing feature for both of them.  Thing 1 shall henceforth be called Red and Thing 2 will answer to Blondie.  It also eliminates the need for explanation as to who is whom in pictures.

Consider yourself informed.  And because I like pictures in blogs, here is the most recent one I have of the two of them together, taken at the Arts Festival in April or May.  Red - the artist formally known as Thing 1- was selling her polymer clay baubles at a booth.  Blondie was helping and selling her Grandmother's American Girl Doll poncho and hat sets.
Aren't they just the cutest?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

And The Living is Easy

Road construction in front of our house.  We have been living on a dirt road for two weeks as they ripped up the pavement in preparation for the new pavement.  Which hasn't arrived yet, and might not for a while.  First they tore up the curb in front of our house and we were stranded with one car in the garage and one car parking on the street for two days.  Luckily we were able to hobble around in the one car and Hubby didn't have any big trips.

We are Horse Owners.  Or will be in a matter of hours.  The original understanding was we would lease this horse, Bones, for a year and at some as of yet unspecified point during that year we would approach the owner about purchasing the horse.  However, Thing 2's riding instructor, who is the go-between in this situation, and the one who talked the original owner into taking Bones out of early retirement and putting him into a lease situation told me we ought to just bite the bullet and offer to buy him.  I was inclined to agree, despite all my fears of horse ownership and horse health problems.  I have been watching all the other barn moms struggling to find a horse for their daughters for the past four months or so. Thing 2 was happily riding and then sadly losing Doc, and then shuffled around for a bit until Bones was pulled into the barn.  In talking to the owner I can see what a trick our instructor pulled off because they really had no intention of selling him.  They were happy just keeping him as a "pasture pal" but she became convinced that as an athlete he wasn't really happy just hanging out in her field.  And he's a perfect horse for Thing 2.  Though his price wasn't as low as we'd hoped, Hubby pointed out how much time and effort would we would have to put into a horse search hoping to find something that has Bone's qualities for 2/3 the price.  So we bought a horse today.  I wanted to hold off giving her the saddle I bought on eBay until her birthday, but with all the summer camps and clinics going on and it is becoming a pain for me to jockey for tack for her, so I gave it to her last week.  The rest of it will wait until her birthday, but the saddle she got already.

I am not doing too well on the summer balance of keeping them occupied and letting them goof off.  There has been more goofing off, especially on Thing 1's part, than I'm happy with.  This mostly comes up when there's something she needs to do, for either me or her art class, and I have to remind her repeatedly to put down the stupid iPad or computer and get back to it.  The trauma in her life was she got her braces put on, finally, a couple of weeks ago.  She has a pretty good overbite, and to keep her top teeth from banging into and knocking off the braces buttons on her bottom teeth, they attached two big plastic things to the back of her front teeth to keep her from closing her mouth.  She felt quite violated orally.  They told me to take her out and feed her a big lunch before the pain set in, but  between the pain and the frustration of her teeth not meeting, she didn't eat much lunch and continued to basically starve herself for a little over a week.  I tried to ply her with smoothies, milkshakes, anything I could think of but she found something wrong with everything, yes, even milkshakes, and she lived on a very sparse diet of scrambled eggs and milk and …  well I'm not sure what else she ate. She lost weight, but finally started perking up and said the pain was lessening, and now she's pretty much back to eating whatever she wants.  Her teeth still don't touch much but she can at least chew enough to live.  The funny thing was when Hubby returned from a trip and went straight to pick her up from her class the day after she got her braces and texted me in obvious alarm that her back molars didn't even meet!!  Did the orthodontist know?  Can we make an appointment for tomorrow to alert them to this unacceptable situation?  Calm down, honey, I'm sure when they glued the big plastic things to the back of her front teeth they were aware that it would screw up her bite for a while.

We took the girls fishing a week ago Sunday.  What started out as a leisurely drive for a hike turned into a fishing trip when I googled the lake we were going to hike around and read to Hubby that there was good fishing there.  He pulled over in the next town and bought a couple of pole and bait kits and licenses for him and Thing 1, and we proceeded to the lake to go fishing instead of hiking.  We expected to not catch anything and so were quite surprised when Hubby caught a nice sized trout.  Thing 2 and I took the dog back to the car to get the foam cooler we bought just incase, and by the time we walked back Thing 1 had caught a fish too!  She caught two more and she and Hubby both caught  little ones that they turned loose.  The whole fishing thing was fine, but I found that I am lousy at deboning them.  It took me almost two hours to debone them when we got home.  So we froze the fillets and got take-out for dinner.

We had fish for dinner on Monday, a week later.

Thing 1 went to a church girl's camp yesterday, and though the camp goes through Friday morning, I'll be going up tomorrow to pick her up so she can go to her art class.  We all miss her a lot.  She's pretty quiet, but she's a pretty big part of what goes on around here.  
We're counting down to Oregon, 1 week before we leave.  That will probably be one of the big highlights of the summer.  The problem is nothing will be able to live up to last year, which was just magical in every way.  But we'll give it a try.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I walk dogs with another woman from the neighborhood.  Of course while we walk we talk.  She claims talking to me is the best therapy money can't buy.  As we walk she (mostly) complains about everything in her life.

I come home from these walks and I am SO HAPPY!  I am outrageously happy that I am NOT married to her husband, I DO NOT have to put up with her kids, and my dog DOES NOT poop all over my house!  It fills me with such joy to be reminded that my husband, while not perfect, is pretty darn close. My funny, talented, highly intelligent, WELL BEHAVED kids only require minimum effort on my behalf to maintain.  Other than that annoying habit they have of getting hungry EVERY DAY.  My dog's only real demand is the he be walked once a day and fed and watered occasionally.  

I have created an immensely delightful life for myself!

I am just afraid that all this joy is going to attract the attention of the negative forces in the universe, and suddenly horrible things will start happening.  I can't help it, it's the result of years of religious training.

Thing 1 got into the very prestigious kids program at a local art gallery.  It required that she submit two essays, a sample of her work, a letter of recommendation, and she and I had to fill out some forms.  All of that had to be reviewed by a panel of judges, and the 18 winners were selected.  Many of them are repeats who have been in the program before - you have to apply every year.  That means there were only a few open slots this year.  Thing 1 is the youngest kid in the program this year - the only 7th grader.  There is one 8th grader, a 9th grader, and then most of the kids are juniors and seniors in high school.  We went to the first meeting and I came away somewhat daunted by what she needed to do - she came away buoyant and excited to get started.  We are very happy she got in!  

Thing 2 is back in the saddle after complete healing of her broken arm and the death of her horse. and she has a new horse.  By the way we don't actually OWN these horses.  We lease them.  We are set to buy the new one, eventually.  His name is Bones, and he's a 16 year old thoroughbred who has a lot of experience in eventing and jumping.  He is currently owned by another client of the riding instructor, someone wealthy enough to have him stands out in the pasture behind their house all the time and they're not riding him.  She's talking them into selling him.  We get first dibs.  Thing 2 is absolutely in love with him.  We will be required to buy him someday, but I'm pushing that off for a while and leasing him.  I got the complete lowdown on  him from another couple at the barn who considered buying him, but decided not to based on his age (they wanted a younger horse), and the fact that he won't "tie" to a pole.  He has to be held by a person or tied up in a cross tie, with the poles next to him, not right in front of him. The report by EVERYONE who rides him is he is 
1) FUN to ride
2) Flashy.  Flashy was explained to me as he holds himself very pretty, steps out pretty, has a sort of dramatic way of moving.  In a barn full of horses, many of which are retired trail or cow horses, a horse that walks and moves gracefully like that sort of gets everyones attention.  Everyone who sees her on him comments to me that "They look awfully good together!"

I don't have pictures of Thing 1's art class, but I have pictures of the horse.  

This blue jump rattled him once, but he just hesitated and went on over it, and was the highest jump she was doing that day, so I had to get it from a couple of different angles.  It looks like the same instant but it's not.
There was another high school girl watching Thing 2 take her lesson, waiting for the jumping course so she could practice.  She's at the barn a lot, a really nice girl who has been riding for a while.  She was complimenting Thing 2 and saying he was doing so good for her, and he's not an easy horse to ride.  I said really?  She sure makes it look easy!  The older girls said she had seen the teacher and the other woman who is currently half leasing Bones ride him over the jumps and that he didn't perform as well as he did when Thing 2 was riding him.  She said she thinks he is responding to Thing 2's confident gentleness, and that Thing 2 is an amazing rider.  Why thank you!!!!

School is almost out and I am looking forward to spending more time with my amazing little family!!!!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day.

Hubby usually goes overboard and makes it as wonderful a day as he can… but he's in Australia.  Events conspired against us.

The plan was for me and the girls to go to church at 9:00 until 10:00, then head north to my sister's for mother's day with my mom.  My sister cooked dinner.  I made a cake for dessert.  
I had presents for my sister, who doesn't have kids of her own, and presents for my mom. I had the cake which turned out pretty good.  I had a third of it instead of having any dinner, so I know.  I had chocolate and caramel dipped pretzels, and several dozen chocolate dipped strawberries that Thing 1 had made the day before as part of a fundraiser for girl's camp.  

Thing 2 woke up sick.  It was hard to tell if it was just whiny sick, or really sick. I let the girls stay home from church, but I went.  I was feeling a little sad watching everyone else's kids get up and sing for the mothers.  When I got home we talked and Thing 2 was still feeling kind of crappy but I convinced her that sleeping in the car is as easy as sleeping on the couch.  I let it percolate for a while because there was no rush getting out of the house, by the time we got to my folk's house, they'd be at church.  It started to seem to me like she was getting worse.  But by then I had convinced the girls we should go, and Thing 2 started crying that she had ruined Mother's Day, and we should just go no matter how sick she felt.  But then her temperature popped up to 102, and she finally fell asleep.  It was obvious she was too sick to go, and I was glad we hadn't taken her earlier.  

Mother's day was kind of a bust.   Australia is an inconvenient time difference, Hubby's getting up when the girls are at school, we're going to bed at the middle of his day, and he's asleep when we're getting up.  We won't have many chances to talk for the next two weeks.

I think I'll do a do-over with my mom this weekend, and drive up to see her and my dad on Sunday.

Meanwhile, at the barn, Thing 2's riding instructor has come up with a horse for her to ride.  His name is Bones, and he seems about perfect for her.  He's taller than any other horse she's ridden at 16 hands, is a thoroughbred, and he's already done a lot of dressage and jumping.  He's kind of middle aged, at 16 years old, and is reasonably priced. I'd love to buy him but the upkeep for horses is what puts you in the poor house.  Somewhere along the road someone taught him to smile.

Thing 2 loves him already.  We're going to try and lease him until our ship comes in, unless someone else buys him first.

The Clump of Three

So the hot water heater busted..

Then Thing 2 broke her arm.

I ran into a friend the beginning of the next week and she said, "That's two!"  I hadn't even thought of that.  I conjured up some third disaster, which I can't even remember now because it was so small, and assured myself that would be it.

But it wasn't.

I made an appointment for Thing 2 to go to the Fracture Clinic at Primary Children's Hospital.  I didn't know at the time they're only open on Wednesdays.  They got us in at 2:00.  An hour before I went to go pick her up for her appointment, Thing 2's horseback riding instructor texted me that Doc, the horse she's been riding for the past year, died.

We had gotten wind he was sick, there is another girl who rides him and her mother had texted me on Sunday to say Sorry about Thing 2's arm, and that Doc was feeling poorly and was in a stall in the barn, not out in the corral like usual.

I had decided not to say anything to Thing 2 until that evening, when I picked her up at school she said another friend of hers who goes to the same barn had been out there the night before and reported Doc wasn't doing well.  She teared up and asked me if we could go visit him after her arm appointment.
I couldn't lie to her and say "Oh yes, honey, we can go out there right after your appointment!  I'm sure he'll be happy to see you!"
So I told her.  It was already too late, he'd died that morning.
Of course she was devastated, and my delivery was terrible... the school parking lot is not the place to deliver that kind of news.  We would barely make the appointment anyway, and she started sobbing and saying she couldn't go to the doctor now... I agreed but I was kind of stuck.  She cried all the way down the canyon but pulled herself together for the doctor.  I don't know why they figured she was kind of weepy and tender, one woman asked if it hurt a lot and she agreed.

The doctor at Primary's, but the way, was baffled by the weird splint the ski resort had put on her, his first act was to take it off.  He confessed that he didn't understand why they'd bother splinting her arm, but even more curious was why they'd splint her arm two inches below the break.   Maybe if they had ran the splint up over her shoulder or something?  But below the break?  No sense whatsoever.   He also told her 4-6 weeks of being careful, but from that day, not from the day of the break, so he basically moved her dates back a week.  Talk about adding insult to injury.  Our next appointment would have been 4 weeks later but that fell right in the middle of our spring break and I already knew we'd be leaving town.  They never move appointments up, always back, so her follow up appointment will be the week after we get back.  

I took Thing 2 out to the barn last week, she had ridden a new horse just before Doc died and she wanted to just go to the barn.  While I was there I ran into the groom girl, who said he had gotten out when someone was feeding them, and come to the arena and found her and just stood in front of her.  She said she almost didn't recognize him, he looked so awful.  They called the vet and did an ultrasound on him and found a tumor on his kidney.  He died three days later.  He was 20.  Too young, and very sad.

Thing 2 took two for the team on the series of unfortunate events for the family.