Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Horse, of Course

Right after school started there was a horse show for Blondie and Bones.

She was competing in the "Intro" level, which means the jumps were about 2 feet high, in the "Junior" division which meant 19 year olds and younger.

It involved missing a day of school to go down and practice doing the cross country phase, since there isn't a cross country field at the barn they ride at.  She and I camped at the fairgrounds with the rest of the people from the barn.
She got to take care of the horse all day and wake up and do it again the next morning.  She was in heaven.  The little girls all took their horses for a walk before they tucked them into bed that night.


The next day both of them - she and the horse - did very well.  I had worried about her Dressage, but to her credit she really had been practicing with him.  And the dressage field was out in the open - nothing to shy at. So they did great.

 She nailed the stadium jumping - and had a great time on the cross country.

They came in 2nd place in a field of about 20 kids.
She was so happy she nearly burst.

It was a good day for all of us.

Summer Wrap Up

Summer has come and gone!

The girls are back in school and I am looking around and taking a deep breath and it is so nice to feel like my life is not as hectic as it has been the past couple of years.  Don't get me wrong, the house is still and probably always will be something of a disaster, but I, Personally, am in a happy place.

Probably the biggest highlight of the summer -  our trip to Oregon.

This is the 2nd annual trip to this house.  It is an amazing place and when confronted with not getting the house when we wanted next year, we chose to come a different week rather than find a new house to come to.

We were watching summer slip away from us so we planned a quick trip down to Zion's Park.  This is the first trip we have taken the girls down there since Red was a baby.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn, which was nice, and hiked around.  The first day we sort of accidentally missed the turn off to the shuttle parking lot and ended up driving out the other side of the canyon without actually going up into it, so since that took up most of the day, we went back and swam in the very nice hotel pool until dinner.  The next day, though, we caught the shuttle and did a bunch of hikes and had a very nice day.



Red and Blondie are in the same school now, catching the same bus and on the same schedule.  They were both put into groups of students without many of their good friends this year.  That is kind of normal for Blondie, but for Red she's always had at least one really good friend in most of her classes.  This year all of her good friends are in another group, she's mostly alone in this one.  Same with Blondie, who was bothered by this more than Red.  They are having good days and bad, but for the most part things are going well.

The week after school started was Blondie's biggest horse show to date.  It was a schooling show, still, but required her to miss a day of school and she and I camped over at the county fairgrounds where it was held.    But I haven't uploaded pictures from that yet… it will be for next time.

Oregon Again!!!

We stopped at a recreation of Stonehenge on the Columbia River on the way over.




 The Stonehenge looks out over the Columbia river


 My brother's girls - they were an hour or two behind us on the drive.

Hubby and I and our girls made it to the house first, and picked up the key from the rental agency and then headed to the house.  Just walking in the door of that lovely home and looking out to see the ocean from the back windows made me happy.  It is a lovely place.

Grandma, Papa, and 3 nieces
We went for a hike but it was so foggy we couldn't see the view

My cute niece on the swingin' tree
 My brother-in-law (on the right in the red shirt) is famous for his huge hamburgers.
Blondie and my youngest niece spent two solid days boogie boarding

 We celebrated Blondie's birthday while we were there.

We went to the maritime museum in Astoria.

We relaxed, we slept, we read, we ate, we walked on the beach, we collected sand dollars, we ate and slept and relaxed some more.

My brother created a treasure hunt this year, on three planks of wood, one containing a map and two scribed with a very clever poem.  He wanted to do the "Take ten steps to the west" sort of map which  follows the pirate stereotype but totally stumped the girls.  Which way is west, anyway?  We say "The sun sets in the west."  They look at us blankly.   It took quite a lot of help to get them to figure out where the treasure was buried, with the older girls looking on saying "There should be a time limit!  If they can't get it in 10 minutes it's our turn!"  I am curious if the older girls could have figured it out.

Last year most of us went deep sea fishing.  My mom and dad and sister opted out.  Hubby and my sister's husband were horribly sea sick, and my brother's wife and two of his daughters were moderately sea sick. We brought back so much fish we ended up feeding it to the seagulls because it was going bad and stinking up the house fridge.  Even though he spent a lot of the time leaning over the rail, Hubby said it was something he really enjoyed doing and looked forward to doing this year.

This year the only ones willing to go fishing were the four of us, my brother, and his youngest daughter.  I bought some different nausea medication for Hubby, and he was not sick at all!  That was probably my favorite part of the fishing trip.  My niece and I caught a bunch of fish, this year Blondie didn't get nearly as many fish as she thought she should.  She was standing right in between me and my niece, but just didn't get the bites.   Red was on the other side of my niece, she caught quite a lot.  Mostly we were catching black sea bass, but my brother and I both caught a ling cod, a big ugly fish that fought a lot harder than the bass.  All in all we had a really nice trip, and a great fried fish dinner that evening.  This year we were smarter, too, and we packed all the fish we didn't eat in ice and drove it home.  We probably got 12 fish dinners out of it, and that was just 1/3rd of what was left.

 Red would catch 'em, but she wouldn't touch 'em.  The captain came out to help her reel that one in.
 My brother, on the right, pulled in a crab trap.

When Blondie FINALLY caught her first fish of the day, the woman deckhand helping told her she had to kiss it to make sure she'd catch more.  She did catch more eventually, though she did not kiss that first fish.

Thank you Grandma and Papa for a most wonderful trip!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

6th

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.