Sunday, August 30, 2015

Summer wrap up

We had a busy summer.  
We haven't gone to Vegas for the Better Software Conference for a couple of years, but we went this year the week after school let out.  Instead of limiting ourselves to one big show, we did two big ones and a little one.  We saw The Beatles Cirque du Soleil show, the Blue Man show, and an animal show.  The last one was a little disappointing, maybe our kids are too old.

The end of June was our third annual trip to Oregon.  The first year was so magical, the 2nd year was a little frustrating, partly because nothing could match the magic of the first year, but this year was solidly lovely.  Some of us made it all the way to the top of the mountain we hiked, the little girls actually got Red to boogie board with them, we just had a great time.

Right after we got back from Oregon I drove Blondie to Wyoming for her first real Horse Trial.  She bobbled her dressage and was 8th of 8 girls in her division, which was very disappointing for her. They did Cross Country the 2nd day and she jumped the wrong jump - she jumped the higher one next to the one she should have jumped, and was given a "Technical Elimination."  However there was some miscommunication with the judges and they didn't stop her like they should have, and she was able to continue on and finish the course.  It was complete serendipity in our favor.  Because it was a "technical" elimination she was able to petition to ride in the final round on the last day, so she got to ride the show jumping round, which was fun.  She learned a lot.  Blondie was of course hugely disappointed to be eliminated, but she took some comfort in the fact that five of the twelve riders in the group we came with from Park City were also eliminated, and only 2 of the 8 girls in her division ended up finishing, all the rest were eliminated.  It was a tough course, but she did well and had a great time all in all.
This is the first time she's had to compete in full on eventing clothes with the jacket and light pants and tall boots.

While Blondie and I were in Wyoming, Hubby flew to Dallas with Red to pick up his new car.  He has been wanting to move up from the Passat for a long time, and has been looking for easily a year to find what car he wanted.  He finally settled on a particular BMW and found one that matched and had to go pick it up.  I have kind of put up with this because 1) we are calling this his mid-life crisis 2) he did earn it, sort of, by publishing his book.  However I have been kind of mocking him, maybe quietly, I hope gently, because the car he settled on is a 2 door convertible.  I have pointed out that we live in PARK CITY next to a SKI RESORT and he has TWO CHILDREN.  He was undaunted.  I voted we keep the Passat and he could just drive that to and from the airport, and garage the BMW.  HIs reply was most weeks he'd only drive it to and from the airport.  He does make a good point.

And then I drove the car.  It is so much fun to drive, I had to shut up about it and while he's been in Australia this week I have been driving the BMW on all my errands except to the barn.  I will not drive that to the barn.

We were going to go to Australia and New Zealand with Hubby but when we came back from the horse trials we talked and since my passport had expired, the girls' expire in September, and we hadn't bought tickets, and the whole trip would be wedged between a church girls camp and going back to school and we'd only have about seven days non-travel time to do this, it was just getting less and less appealing.  So we decided not to go.

I had three big projects to work on this summer.
1) Paint Blondie's room.  The sample color patch has been on her wall for over a year.  But I told her I'm not just going to clean up her room, clean out her room, and paint it, without some help from her. It's a decent but not monumental mess in there.  She hasn't seemed to want it bad enough to clean her room.  So it didn't get done this summer.

2) Clean out the garage.  We bought a work table for one wall to hold tools and stuff and put peg board on the wall, but the organization and clean up part was started but not really finished.

3) Finish up landscaping the front yard and plant the grass.  This involved relocating some plants that I had planted too close to the existing grass line, and moving the grass line back much further back toward the house, and removing a whole bunch of Bishop's Weed and planting the grass in the space to fill it in.  I ACTUALLY DID THIS!!!  The grass is planted and little tufts are starting to come up.  

School started last week.  Red is on the early bus, and leaves the house at 6:40 am.  Blondie is on the late bus, and leaves the house at 8:26 am.  I have found that there area several hours in the morning that I didn't even know existed.  I am certainly not naturally an outrageously driven or productive person, and I do not feel compelled to pack something into every minute of the day, but I have found this time in the morning to be a great time to get some things done so I have less guilt when I get less done in the rest of the day as I often do.

Red is quite happy with her classes, she got most of the electives she requested and has been enjoying school well enough.  She'd rather stay home, of course, but she is resigned to it, she has some friends, and she is okay.  Blondie was devastated that she does not have any of the friends she made last year in any of her classes this year.  There are people she knows, but her little circle of friends are not in her classes.  She is much less concerned with the actual classes themselves, for her it's mostly about her friends.  Since she's been going for a couple days now I have discovered she does have friends in some of the classes, she tells me stories about this person or that person in her class who she knows, and I think she'll be fine.  

The Fall Pumpkin horse show is this weekend.  I should in fact be packing the car instead of blogging.  I guess I better go do that.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Before students in Utah can attend 7th grade, they must prove that they have received a barrage of immunizations.  Or vaccinations.  Or both, I don't know the difference.
Last year I took Red to the clinic and got her shots, but then when I went to register her for 7th grade they informed me her records showed she did not have the necessary vaccinations.  I was very mad, I'd gone to the trouble to get her to the doctor over the summer, and granted I forgot the list to wave in the doctor's face, but good grief it's a state requirement, shouldn't they know?  I had to make an appointment with the clinic nurse for their next appointment, which was the next day, then rush her back to school afterward so she could register and get her laptop and her schedule.

I decided I am not going through this hassle with Blondie.

I made Blondie's appointment right after school got out in June.  She was very upset about getting the shots, but there's not a lot we can do about it.  They forgot to give me her proof of vaccination printout, so I had to go back and get one, but I was prepared.

I went to register Blondie today armed with our proof of residence and proof of vaccinations.  Imagine my alarm when the school nurse looked at my vaccination certificate and told me "You don't have one of the vaccinations.  I can't register her."  "You are KIDDING MEEEE!!!!    BAAAHHHHH!!!"

I had an appointment with the optometrist myself shortly to get some new contacts so before I raced off to that I called the clinic where I had taken Blondie in June to see if she really had gotten the shot and it just hadn't made it to this print-out somehow, or if she really needed to get another shot.  The secretary said she couldn't find the info and the nurse would have to call me back.   I raced to my eye appointment, where I got some bad news - an irregularity that I have on one eye I now have on BOTH EYES.  Which means it is getting worse.  Anyway.  Not a huge deal now but something to watch, the doctor told me to go see a cornea specialist, and I was sorely disappointed in my body's lack of ability to perform like a super hero.   It has pulled through for me before, being very healthy and stuff, but today, well, today it failed.  I picked out new glasses but my heart wasn't really in it, I ordered "Daily contacts" because they are less likely to cause stress on my eyes, and came home somewhat defeated.

The nurse didn't call me back, so I called and made an appointment for Blondie to get the shot, 45 minutes from then.

We drove to the appointment and were a few minutes late because I made several copies of the paper the school nurse gave me indicating which vaccinations an incoming 7th grade student needs.  When we checked in I gave them to the front desk lady and suggested she post them around because this was my 2nd time having to come back and get a vaccination that had been missed in the 1st appointment.  Blondie could not believe I had actually given the copies to her.  We were sitting in the waiting room, and finally a nice lady comes out and calls Blondie's name, and comes over to tell us they are out of that vaccination.  I remember thinking "I should close my jaw.  I am sitting here with my mouth open, which is probably rude."
So I closed my mouth.
She told me they would probably have more on Monday.
I could feel tears pricking my eyes...
The nurse told me I could go to the public health clinic.
I flipped out.  I was so mad and didn't want to be caught crying.  I don't know why but I smacked my forehead dramatically three times with my phone.
I think I said okay, but I stormed out of there with Blondie following behind.
I was crying before I got to the car.  I still am not sure why.  I guess sometimes you have to act like a spoiled two year old.

I sat in the car trying to get a hold of myself, Blondie was scared and asking what was going on, why was I so upset.  I don't know.  I told her about my eye, and then she got upset and asked if I was going to go blind, no, well, I don't think so, probably not, they can operate for this but they don't like to operate on your cornea unless they absolutely have to.  I googled the public health clinic and considered calling to make sure they had the vaccination but decided my voice would crack, so I drove Blondie over there to give myself time to calm down.  Blondie was pretty stunned.  I apologized for embarrassing her in the clinic, and told her I think I flipped out because I was afraid I might cry, and she told me crying might have been less embarrassing than smacking myself in the forehead with the phone.  "Then everyone in the waiting room watching might have thought she told you you have some horrible disease or something.  Hitting yourself with the phone just makes you look like a crazy person."

I calmed down on the drive and we made it to the public health clinic where I was informed that they did have the right vaccine but they don't take my insurance.  It would cost me $115 but I could probably be reimbursed by my insurance if I submitted the paper work.   Fine.  Get this over with.  I should add that no less than three times while we were there I had someone ask to make sure we didn't need the OTHER big vaccine for incoming 7th graders.  No, thanks, our clinic already gave us that one but they're NOT AS SMART AS YOU GUYS and they totally bungled the OTHER vaccine, which is why we're here.

The nurse called Blondie back so we went to the exam room, where the nice lady proceeded to ramble on at length, telling us all the possible side effects, then explaining how exceedingly rare it is that anything should happen, but she is required to tell us anyway, then apologizing for rambling on.  She was really quite lovely and nice.

When the shot was all over she told Blondie that despite being 12 and no longer a child, she could still choose from the tacky gift bag for "being brave."
She pulled out several bulging kitchen trash bags and said Blondie could choose from some school supplies, from some of those tiny foamy critters that expand when you get them wet, or a little stuffed animal.  She opened the bags and right on top of the stuffed animal bag was Chubby, a little stuffed dragon that Blondie had given up in a room purge at least three years ago.
It had originally been Red's, as she is the big dragon fan, but Blondie had taken it when Red purged at one point.  It has lived in Blondie's room for a while, but it was purged quite a while ago.  
We could hardly believe it.  Blondie figured it had come to her again, it was fate, so she chose Chubby as her prize.  I told her she can't ever give him up now.

We'll have to try again to register Blondie on Monday.  I can't think of any more problems we may encounter but maybe I'll tuck Chubby in my purse for good luck just in case.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Sad Day

The girls went to Girl's Camp last Monday, just got home today.
I had thought that maybe Hubby and I could have a romantic get-away, but he scheduled work a long time ago, so he was out of town.  Also got back today.
I decided to go visit my parents, 80 miles north, since I am the only one who really wants to do this anyway.  I had a nice time, a couple of my mom's brothers and their wives were also visiting, I got to see my sister, shop with my mom, it was a nice relaxing time as it usually is.  Without the hassle of entertaining Hubby and the kids.
I took the dog and the remaining guinea pig with me, rather than board them or get someone to come watch them.
Wednesday my mom and I went to Sam's Club.  Before we left I put the guinea pig on the grass so he could graze.  I put the top of his cage out so he couldn't run away, and put his igloo and water there too.
When we came back I went to check on him and he had flipped his igloo upside down, and was lying limp on the ground gasping.  I picked him up and raced him downstairs where it was cool, wondering if he had over heated.  He did not seem to be improving.  I called my sister and asked her where a good vet is, and raced over there.
He had already died before I got there.  They said without an autopsy, they couldn't really determine the cause of death.  They'd have to ship his body out for the autopsy, and they'd send me back the report and the cremated remains.
That just seemed gruesome.  They gave me a nice little cardboard casket, put a hand towel in the bottom, and laid the guinea pig on it.  She closed his eyes for me.

I came home that night and decided to put him in the fridge.  Freezing him would have meant I had to cram his body into a zip lock bag, and make freezer space.  I had room in the downstairs fridge to put him in his little casket box.

I picked the girls up today and Blondie, whose pig this was, chattered all the way home, full of experiences to share from camp.  As it was Red's 2nd year, and she didn't have some of the dramatic experiences as her sister, she was quieter.  Hubby's plane had landed and he had arrived home while I was picking up the girls but he had to get on the phone, so we told them we had some bad news as we were getting out of the car, so it ended up that we told them that the pig had died as we were all standing in the garage in front of the car.  Of course Blondie was devastated, Red was sad too, as her pig had died this spring.

Blondie went downstairs and sat on the storage room floor with the box on her lap, petting the pig and crying for about half an hour.  We will have the funeral later, when Hubby gets off the phone.  I started digging a grave in the back yard, next to Red's pig's grave.

The problem with having these animals we love is that they don't live forever.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Chicken

There are two big schooling shows for eventers each year - eventing being what Blondie does where she rides dressage, stadium jumping, and cross country jumping.  Anyway there are many smaller shows but the big ones seem to be the Spring Chicken and the Fall Pumpkin, both held at the Golden Spike fairgrounds.
Last Fall she went to the Pumpkin and took 2nd place in the Junior Grasshopper division, which is the entry level division
The Chicken was yesterday, and she decided to level up and compete at the Beginner Novice level, which is 2'7" or lower.
She was pretty nervous, and expected to not ribbon as she was competing against up to 19 year olds.  The Junior Beginner Novice had the most participants in it, with 22 kids.  I think I might have mentioned in a previous post, the scoring ends up being a lot about the dressage.  If you can nail the dressage, and make it through the jumping rounds, you do okay.  Bones and Blondie are really good jumpers, I think she rides him well, and I think he is really good about jumping most anything she can get him to.   I think they are a little more wobbly at the dressage, but he steps out really pretty and holds his head nice, and they generally look good. 
I have a hard time with this in my head, because a lot of the time I give the horse a lot of credit.  I think he is an excellent horse and we kind of lucked into finding him.  He has a lot of experience and he knows his job and seems to be kind of paternal about it, and I think he takes care of Blondie.  However, I think she does ride very well, and certainly does everything she can, and seems to listen to her instructors, who I do think are wonderful.

Of course it's not about who wins or doesn't, it's about how well you do against yourself.  However it's always nice to bring home a ribbon.  My parents came down to watch, I kind of emphasized that this is probably the closest show she'll do, and since it's a mini event they can see everything in one day, so they made the trip.  Because they were there, instead of mostly following Blondie and Bones around and running support for them, I kind of sat with my folks and narrated what was going on for them, and let Blondie kind of take care of things herself.  Hubby spent more time shadowing Blondie.  Because of this I got to watch more of the other girls in her division do their dressage, and I thought it unlikely Blondie could win against some of the better ones of them.  But she's had a couple of dressage lessons where the teacher has been working on the finer points of what they do, and I have to assume that these little details that I can't even see must be what make the difference between a good rider and a great rider, because after the dressage round Blondie was in 2nd.

They kept their 2nd place through the day - The only thing that would make them go up would be if the girl in 1st messed up, and of course they could have dropped if they messed up on the jumping rounds. But they didn't.  She came out in 2nd place and was tickled pink.

It was a great day and she had so much fun - the cross country ride was one of the best rides she's had in her life.
This is from schooling on the course before the event - something you only get to do if it's a "schooling show."

This is her dressage.  It's hard to get good pictures, as they're just kind of walking walking and trotting around.  

This is from her stadium jumping.

I spent half an hour trying to figure out how to make the video of the cross country smaller so I could upload it.  Apparently I am not technically savvy enough and I have run out of time for the day.  Someday if I can figure it out, I'll load it.
Yay Blondie and Bones!!!

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Perils of Snowboarding

Hubby broke hisself snowboarding on Sunday.  He caught some air and fell onto his right shoulder, then went tumbling down the mountain.  Somehow in the attempt to stop himself he whacked his right ankle.  There was  no one around.  He boarded to the bottom of the run, where he finally got the attention of the ski patrol.  The clinic on the mountain was really crowded, so he asked them to give him a ride to his car - despite my protests that I would drive up to get him - and drove himself home. 
From there, I drove him to the insta care clinic, where x-rays showed the ankle was cracked and he had a separated collarbone.   You can see in the picture how the shoulder on the left (his right) has a hiccup in it, you can see the bump of the collar bone sticking up.  The one on the right connects smoothly to the top of his shoulder.

I had been texting the girls at home to reassure them and told Red there was now going to be a bump on Daddy's shoulder.  She was very upset to hear this and so I sent her the above picture.  The conversation went like this:
I was sitting in the clinic howling that she was totally okay with the bump, yeah, whatever, but OHMIGOSH DAD IS NAKED!!!  She told me later that she was worried he'd lost his pants.  Why she decided the above picture of his shoulders would indicate he was naked I do not know.

Hubby ordered a boot off of Amazon, it came Tuesday and was much more convenient than having to wrap the ace bandages around the splint he received from the clinic.  Also, the clinic put him on crutches and told him to put zero weight on that ankle.  The crutches didn't work at all, since using them to keep the weight off his ankle was pushing up on his separated shoulder.  

Hubby went to the doctor today, we held out for an appointment with the Sports Medicine guy instead of just a family practice guy.  The ankle and shoulder should both heal 100%. 

The worry was that he was causing further damage to his ankle by hobbling on it.  He has pretty much just been hopping around, or walking on the heel of the boot.   The doctor said hobbling on it will make it more sore, but it won't damage anything as long as he uses the boot and doesn't do anything stupid like snowboarding, gymnastics, or kick boxing.  
Hubby had to cancel his travel this week, and missed the first couple days of a whoop-de-do conference.  He leaves tomorrow for the rest of the conference and refuses to use a scooter because he thinks only crazy Walmart shoppers use them, so he's going to be hobbling around a huge conference center.

In other news, Blondie and Bones participated in a Schooling Jumper show on Saturday. Since we/they are Eventers, not strictly Jumpers, this wasn't completely their thing, but it is like one of the three events that Eventers do, the stadium jumping part. 

Since it was a schooling show, it ran behind, and there was a lot of sitting around.

Even when you line up to go, you're waiting and waiting, and there's a lot of standing around.  This is Blondie on the right, and her friend on the left.  They're making a heart with their hands.

Jumpers are all about speed, though, and since Blondie and her friends were competing with women and horses who are all about the jumping; who are racing around pell-mell and cutting all the corners, they were all kind of out of their league.  However, some of them ribboned, Blondie and the other girl we came with both ribboned at the lowest level they competed at - cross poles, which was a pleasant surprise.  Neither ribboned at the next level, and then because Bones has been a little stiff looking, the trainer suggested he and Blondie were done.   I went up in the stands to watch.  

This is Blondie and Bones, in the middle of the picture, getting ready to go in for one of her rounds. Her friend is behind her, framed in that gate.
And Blondie and Bones on the Cross Poles

The other little girl did one more level, but on that one it was getting even crazier and crazier with everyone jumping high and then zipping around to the next jump like their tails are on fire.  But she did very well and didn't knock anything over.  If it would have been an eventing round, instead of a jumping round, both girls would have received zero penalties.  Everyone had a fun day.

Because Bones has been a little off, I went out on Tuesday to meet with the horse Chiropractor while Blondie was in school.  He adjusted Bones and suggested she skip her lesson the next day and not ride him for a couple days.  Since we  usually go out on Thursdays, I went out with Blondie yesterday to work on his scratches, and found a new big patch that he won't even let me touch.  I think that might be why he's been "off."  Blondie used her Zen thing to calm him while I worked on two of his feet.

What makes this a neat picture is how picky he is about having his head even touched. He won't tolerate his ears being touched, he doesn't put his nose down to be petted.  So to have him put his head down into her chest, and let me rip the scabs off his feet is pretty amazing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Good Break

Our school district gives the kids a whole week off at President's Day.  We have spent most of those weeks visiting my parents, at a condo they rent in Oceanside, CA.    Hubby always wants to go to Disneyland for at least a couple of days.  We spend the rest of the time on the beach, or loafing around the condo and the area with my folks.  Blondie has become a fan of the thick milkshakes at Ruby's Diner at the end of the Oceanside Pier.

Blondie spent two days on the boogie board.  It was much warmer than usual, I actually went out with her and didn't even have a wet suit.  After her time in Oregon, Blondie has become a boogie board master.  She even got Red out for an afternoon and the two of them really had fun.

This year our Disneyland trip seemed especially magical.  We spent two days at Disney and passed the night in Anaheim.  The crowds were the lowest I've seen in  years.  I assume it was due to the measles outbreak.  I am opposed to other's misfortune resulting in our benefit, but there isn't too much I can do about it but benefit from it.  So we did.  The girls are old enough that we don't even go into Storybook land or Toon Town, we mostly bounce between the rides they like.  Thunder Mountain was open this year, which is a treat, because it often has been  under renovation when we've gone in the past.   And Red rode every ride we pushed her to go on.  Always before she has dragged her feet for Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, and Tower of Terror.  Actually we didn't get on the Tower this year, just timed it badly.  But we went on everything else, though the California Screamer is her favorite.  As we were walking around on the 2nd evening, the girls and Hubby were ahead of me and I saw this:

I know it's blurry and not the best shot but I think it is the first time I have seen my two girls just walking around being buddies like this.  They are not very physically expressive toward one another.  When one is feeling companionable toward the other, the other for one reason always seems prickly.  To have them both feeling companionable at the same time is pretty unusual.

Hubby said his goal was to get bored, and he didn't really make it.  

It was a really lovely vacation, it is just hard to balance wanting to stay longer, and wanting to come home.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Zen at The Barn

I have learned a lot about horses since we bought this one, Bones.

He is a truly lovely horse.  But he is an older horse.  And there were some inherent problems with him going from being a yard ornament to being ridden six days a week by two different riders, one of whom was riding him pretty hard.  We bought him in July, and by October this regimen had taken a its toll on his spine and he was limping.  So the first person we called was the horse chiropractor.   About this time the woman who half leases Bones ramped up her search for a horse of her own, and stopped riding bones altogether.  She just looked farther and farther away for a horse.
   This is the horse chiropractor giving him some acupuncture.

The Chiropractor adjusted him, at the tune of a couple hundred dollars, then of course no one could ride him hard for a couple of weeks.  He was on "rehabilitation" which means pretty much half an  hour of walking, no real trotting or cantering, and certainly no jumping.  Then the Chiropractor came back to look at him and said that the adjustment problem was fixed, but now he was more lame than ever with another problem.  The vet was at the barn that day and she looked at him and said it was probably the scratches.
Backtrack a month or so.  The woman who half leased him from us told me he had scratches on  his feet.  I thought so what, he got scratched somehow, it will heal.  Whatever.

Oh how wrong I was.

Apparently SCRATCHES is the layman's term for TERMINAL ATHLETE'S FOOT of the horse.   Sort of.  It was awful!  $735.00 awful.  

It is this nasty condition that manifests itself as these scabs on the horses's skin just above the hoof.  Only happens on white feet, by the way, which is why some people will not buy a horse with white feet.  The way to treat it is to rip the scabs off, and apply medicine of one sort or another.

Bones's scratches got pretty bad. His feet were all swollen and as he healed from the back problems his scratches got worse and they caused him to start hobbling again.  I think Blondie was afraid she was hurting him when she would pick the scabs off, which she was, so she would pick very daintily at them.  She gets off a little chunk the size of her pinky fingernail and that was about all the pain she wanted to put him through. So we called the vet to help.   I went out to the barn and watched the vet attack them, and she drugged him up, then shaved off all the hair on his foot and the proceeded to shave off the scabs.  It was horrifying.  It bled.  Then she put him in isolation in a stall, so he was out of the wet pasture.  Being in a stall cost me $5 a day for shavings, and $10 a day to have someone else muck it out if we couldn't get out to the barn that day.  And of course Blondie wasn't riding him.  He HATED the stall.  He started weaving again, and was pretty unhappy.  After nearly two weeks in the stall he was able to go out into the cross country field, which isn't as wet and muddy as the pastures, but still isolated.  He was still unhappy.  He was there for a couple more weeks, and then they decided it was dry enough and he was unhappy enough that he could go back into the pasture with the other geldings.  
This is what swollen feet look like after the scratches have been shaved off.

 He's rocking his flash dance leg warmers.

Two weeks rehabilitation turned into four and six… She would be off him completely, or on for rehabilitation rides, but then his head would bob and she was off again and we'd call the vet.  She was basically off him for while he was being treated for one thing or another from the end of October until the middle of December.  Then he got well enough to actually have a lesson.  The scratches were doing better, until just before Christmas when she had a practice ride and his head was bobbing on the trot again, meaning he's lame again.  So she was off of him and we talked to the vet.  The next time the vet decided his front feet were still not trimmed right, he was still out on his heels when  he needed to be on his toes.  So Blondie was not riding him while we wait for the ferrier to fix his feet, and for him to recover from being off on that.  

I took this picture when he was so frisky and excited to be out of the stall and back being ridden that he couldn't contain himself.

So finally by January he was back, and she had another lesson.  The scratches were still there but getting slowly better.  But now every time she rides him she is in fear of that head bob.    Each time she rides, as we are graining him, I attack the scratches.  He hates it.  He pulls his foot out of the way, again and again.  I move to the other foot.  He has sometimes kicked at me with the opposite hind foot when I'm working on the back one.  We all hate it.

In the mean time, with no one able to ride much, the woman who half leased him from us stopped leasing him from us.  She was looking hard for a horse and stopped coming out to the barn.  
I had worried that for a long time Bones liked her better than he liked Blondie.  She jumped him higher, she treated him more, she just loved the heck out of him.  But around the middle of December she found her own horse.  He was new and greener and needed a lot of work.  So the woman who had leased from us was coming back to the barn but she totally focused on her own horse.  There was one day toward the beginning of January when I came out to watch the vet work on Bones and this new horse was in the stall next to Bones's.  I was chatting with the woman who had been leasing from us while the vet ground down her horse's teeth, and she told me she had gone into Bones's stall to say hello.  She said he took one look at her and turned his butt toward her, and then walked to the other side of the stall and put his head in the corner.  He was shunning her.  She said it was so obvious, such a different reaction than the one she used to get from him, it was very obvious he was mad at her.  Of course, she said, that is the way it has to be, she is very happy with her new horse, and Bones needs to be in love with Blondie.  I thought he would still love the woman who had leased him, who loved him so much, but he had moved on when she did.

So Bones is back, Blondie has had a couple of lessons on him and they are jumping and everything again.  We are still dealing with the scratches, but it's much better, much smaller patches and I've figured out a routine.  I took this Tuesday, before my phone told me the memory was full and shut down.  She jumped higher by the end of the night, but it's on my other camera.

Thursday we were at the barn and I decided to the scratches treatment a little different.  Instead of waiting until he was cooled off and attacking the scratches while he ate his grain, I told Blondie let's do the scratches while he's cooling off.  You can treat him just a little, can't you?  She said she'd keep him occupied.  I don't know if she was worried he was too hot to treat him or what, but she said she'd stay by his head while I worked on his feet.  It is impossible to work on his feet without something to distract him.

I was picking at the scratches and noticed he was tolerating it.  He stopped lifting his foot out of the way, stopped trying to get away from me.  I commented on it, and told her to keep doing what she was doing.  Finally I asked Blondie what was going on and she said "Shhhhh!!"  She said she kind of put her forehead on his and just rubbed on his face and looked him in the eye… he would half close his eyes and she would just talk softly to him.  She said when I talked his eyes would pop open and she'd have to calm him down again.

She is very tickled that he trusts her and she has been developing her horse whisperer skills.  With him at least.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Most Favorite Painting

Now that I say that… there are other paintings my girls have done that I really really like.  But today I'm going to say my most favorite is the one we commissioned a friend of mine to do.  I saw one she painted for someone else, and just loved it.  So I contacted her about doing one for us, and she did!  She is just so cute about it, she came over and we measured the space above the fireplace to figure out how big it should be.  She painted it pretty quickly, a mutual friend told me she fusses over them and works on them for a long time, but I think she did this in a couple of months.  I really love it, I love that it's impressionistic, and colorful, and that it's aspens that we see up here a lot.
Her name is Shelly Peters and her youngest son is Blondie's age.
She makes it very personal, and hides your initials in the painting.  Mine I can pick out easily, everyone else's I have to hunt for.  
She asked the girls to come paint on it.  They put a lot of the red in it.  She told me after that they are just the cutest, sweetest, loveliest girls ever… very complimentary of each other and just so darling.  :-)

Shelly told me she touched it up after the girls finished, she said there was A Lot of red in it and she had to take some out.  
She said she didn't want it to be obviously sunrise or sunset, and so it's either.  Which I like…
I am very tickled with it!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Holiday Break

It's been a great Christmas and the whole holiday has been wonderful!

First - I ordered Hubby's Christmas cards early.

Then I was on top of his chocolate - what he sends out to clients.  Yay!  I feel like that got me started out right and I didn't spend the rest of the holiday trying to catch up.  Instead of laboriously writing our regular Christmas card, which combines a short humorous paragraph about each of us with a photo and a drawing done by one of the girls, all carefully squished into the required space and painstakingly printed by me, I slapped a couple photos into a Costco template, wrote a little sentence blurb about each of us, entered my credit card number and sat back to wait for someone else to do the work. It wasn't nearly as charming and personal as our usual card, but it was SO MUCH LESS WORK!

We got a live tree this year for the first time in about ten years.  I decided with the high ceiling of our house our fake tree (which is about 7 feet tall and I really like okay under other circumstances) just looks squatty and inadequate, so while Hubby was in Australia I took Blondie tree shopping and we picked out a lovely 11 footer in Salt Lake.  The trees in the Park City lots were approximately three times as expensive.  Getting it home up the canyon was an adventure, but Blondie and I prevailed and we got it up that night.  It took three trips to Home Depot to get lights, with the brand new strings burning out, and me changing my mind about the size of bulbs we should have, but eventually we got it all up and it was just what I wanted and it is the prettiest tree we've ever had.

Our Christmas was the usual exercise in excess.  The girls have moved from toys to … I still haven't totally figured that out yet.  Blondie is easier because she likes clothes, but needs a ton of horse stuff.  So it's not hard to get stuff for her.  Red is harder. She doesn't really like clothes, though she's getting more flexible about what she'll wear.   I don't hardly remember what she ended up with, she was happy, it was roughly the same amount and exactly the same number as Blondie's (I work pretty hard at that) and her favorite gift was the XBox from Santa anyway.

About that… Hubby told me I need to have The Santa Discussion with the girls.  My family have always been Believers.  Long before we came into the picture my mother made it eminently clear to my father that Santa would fill her stocking every year or else!   So I am in the Believer Camp… But it was getting to be problematic that the girls would be shopping with me and I needed to pick something up, and I needed to not have to be so absolutely careful about what ended up in their stockings.  Also Red is 13 and she is very earnest and I don't want her to be mocked by her friends.  So when I was tucking Red into bed I started up the conversation and asked her what she says when her friends talk about Santa.  She told me they don't.  I told her a good thing to say if it comes up is that in our house Santa comes if you believe, and she's not an idiot.  Just like that, I made her practice.  She seemed to remain pretty earnest. So I took it a step further and I told her a round about way that Santa has helpers.  Moms and Dads fill in because, you know, that's a lot of houses.  She nodded and accepted this readily.  But I kept getting the impression that she wasn't buying it, or rather she's not letting go.  She's farther into the believer camp than I sort of intended to leave her.  I avoided coming right out and getting up in her face with the harsh reality, and she avoided letting go of the magic.  So I let it stay there.

Then just before Christmas I was shopping with Blondie and we walked by a table that had candy at a very low price… and I was thinking, Dang, now I have to come back to this store when she's not with me and get some of that candy.  We went deeper in the store and I saw something else I wanted to put in Hubby's stocking and I picked it up and I was looking at it, and I was looking at her… and I said "Honey, so Santa has helpers..."  And she said "Mom, I know you help out Santa.  You've told me that like eight times."  So I said "Go get that big bag of M&Ms off the table by the door.  And a hand full of those candy bars."  She doesn't seem nearly as entrenched as Red.

Hubby did some of the basic stocking shopping this year, which explains the appearance of of the Cheese Elf.  The Cheese Elf, who left everyone a wheel of Laughing Cow or some other dairy like non-refridgerated cheese spread product, seemed to confuse the girls.   They handed over their cheese wheels with looks of "I don't know what this is doing in my stocking," and "I think this was given to me by mistake."  He traveled with is friend, the Sausage Elf, who left some jerky and a vinegary little sausage in our stockings.  The girls were not impressed but never questioned the source of these bizarre new stocking items.  They just passed them into the family pile.

We had a very relaxed and magical Christmas.  It turned out mostly by accident that Hubby and I each had the same number of gifts as the girls.  We open in a regulated order one at a time, and usually the girls have more than the adults and we skip a few rounds at the end, but this year we all somehow had the same.

We have been relaxing and playing over the break.  Lots of just pajama days and playing on the XBox.  Hubby's been doing quite a bit of snowboarding, just going up for a couple of runs most days.

This year we decided to put both of the girls on skis.  Two years ago when Red broke her wrist snowboarding she decided to abandon snowboarding and went to skis last year.  Blondie stuck it out on the snowboard another year, some of it was solidarity to her father but in general she was afraid of it and she and I spent a lot of time last year on the bunny hill just going slow and getting her comfortable.  Which also worked with Red as she was basically teaching herself how to ski while I was busy helping Blondie.  I thought they both had improved a lot, especially under the circumstances of being taught by me, then Blondie broke her arm in March, right at the end of the season.  So this year we put them both on skis, and decided to put them in a lesson over the break.  So on New Year's day we all went skiing (Hubby snowboarded) and put the girls in full day lessons.

We got to the mountain about the time we should have, but I didn't realize I had to check them in at the ticket window.  I'd bought everything on line, I thought I could just march them up to the ski school.  Blondie was very nervous.  Very very nervous to the point of making herself sick.  Red seemed pretty calm, she had enjoyed skiing the year before and was mostly worried she'd be older than everyone else.  But once I got them signed in, most of the other classes had left.  We told the people there that despite Red having a year of skiing over Blondie, the two of them wanted to be placed in the same class.  We left, hoping the two of them would be attached to a smaller class of older kids and not a big class of kindergarteners.  As we were leaving we saw the two of them were just standing there alone, and then a woman came over and we watched for a little bit as she helped them struggle to put their skis on.  We figured there's nothing more we could do, so we went off to have as much fun as we could. 

Around lunchtime we got a text from Blondie that said; "Having a ton of fun!  can't wait to tell u all about it :) "  Whew!!!  It was much easier to enjoy ourselves after that.  We had three hours left to ski before we picked them up at 3:00.  Hubby and I like similar runs, though he likes powder and I don't, so we do pretty well together.  We had quite a bit of fun, though I wiped out bad once and I think cracked my left thumb.  It will now match my right thumb, which I broke a chip off of skiing in high school and it doesn't bend all the way anymore.
When we went to pick the girls up, it turned out they had had a private lesson, just the two of them with the teacher.  The teacher immediately started telling us how precious and what treasures the girls are.  She told us what a joy they are to teach,  how they listen, and respond, and are way ahead of a lot of kids that just start.  It made me wonder what sort of little hellions she usually has to put up with.  She said a lot of new students have a hard time grasping the fact that the skis slide on the snow.  We suggested that their history of snowboarding might have helped with that, she added that they also have great balance and body sense which might be attributed to the horse back riding.  I didn't feel it necessary to interrupt her gushing about how marvelous our kids are to point out only one has spent much time doing that. She said because it was just the two of them and because the girls listen and respond so well, they were able to advance through two full lessons, and the girls are now level three skiers.  They are working on "linking turns" and can go on gentle green runs.

Blondie said skiing is sooo much better than snowboarding.  She had more fun before lunch, afterward they started going faster and she got scared and started falling down more.  But all in all had a really fun day.  Red was very positive about it but doesn't bubble the way Blondie does.  She had fun, and was all smiles, and that's about all I got out of her.

I have been taking Christmas down for the past couple of days, today we took the tree out to the front yard to await its ride to the drop off point, and moved all the furniture back into place.  Only one more day of Christmas break, and the girls are just sick that school will start again.  Hubby leaves tomorrow for … somewhere.  He was going to take January off but has just been so busy, he'll only end up with about a week off.  The book is selling great, at one point this week it was in the top 6000 Amazon selling lists.  Which is marvelous.

Monday is back to normal, the next real break is the winter break in February.  It's hard to see the holidays end, but it helps that we had such a lovely holiday to look back on.