Thursday, June 25, 2015

Surreal Sadness

Grandpa Bob and the terrible Dot.
This has been a strange week full of lots of downs. We all know about Lauren's incredible loss, and have seen her have complete composure and strength in her writing through this ordeal. I am in awe of her, I really am. We are all here for her, and the different path she is now going through. I can't even being to imagine.
My grandpa Frank and me
I also learned that my tough 87 year old grandpa Frank is now battling leukemia. He has been in and out of hospitals for the last couple of months, and we finally have an answer to what is going on. He has been in a rehab facility trying to gain some strength back for the last few weeks, and now he has been receiving chemo shots as well. This has taken a toll on my grandma, but my dad and aunt went out to visit him in Illinois last week for Father's Day. He got to come home for a little bit and he was so happy, especially surrounded by his family. My heart aches that I couldn't be there.
Grandpa loved motorcycles. And dogs. And all animals. And engines.
And then there is today. Remembering my grandpa Bob, who would have had his 68th birthday today. The pain of losing him still stings every time I think about it. So, I try not to. I try to think of the times where he was crazy and happy and less about the struggles he endured. Like the time he stole a maintenance cart at the hospital while waiting for a new liver, and with hospital gown and i.v. stand in tow, drove to the gas station to get a corn dog and some cigarettes. That happened more than once. He also scared a nurse so bad on her first day at work, that she ran out of the hospital and didn't come back (he turned off some machines and pretended to be dying and hid under the covers with a mask on, and when she pulled them back, he jumped out at her).
Saying hello to BT the burrow, wearing matching colors.
He was feisty and tough, and I try to convince myself that I must have some of that toughness in there somewhere. This man survived the Vietnam war, several comas, being hit on his motorcycle on several occasions (where the drivers left him in the Arizona desert on the road with a bike on top of him. Oh how I would love to meet these people with a bat in my hands), a liver transplant, and a heart valve replacement. He taught me all about classic rock, and I was trained at the early age of 5 to know all of the different bands and songs. The first one I danced to when I was barely standing was "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith.
My fish pillow has a name. It is Louie.
In high school, I had no real friends by the end of senior year. I had Blake, but he went to a different school across the city. I was bullied and taken advantage of. All of my previous friends found cooler friends that would smoke or drink with them when I would not. At that time, I would get bi-weekly calls from my grandpa, and he would cheer me up. He cried with me when I called him and told him that Booger had broken his leg and I had to end his suffering. And when I found out that I was going to lose my grandpa, I wrote him a letter. I wasn't sure if it would make it to him in time (he was told he would have another 24 hours if he went home, but ended up proving them wrong by hanging on for a week) so I read it to him over the phone. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. There is no manual for how to tell somebody you love goodbye.
Grandpa's last trip to Idaho in 2007.
I got to talk to him one more time after that letter, and I was in some kind of denial that he wasn't going anywhere. I treated it as a regular phone call, but my grandpa knew it would be the last time. His body was starting to fail him, and he had difficulties talking. But at the end of our conversation, he said goodbye through lots of tears and pain. I don't know why I thought I would get to talk to him again.
You were not allowed near grandpa when Dot was nearby.
So here I am, trying to celebrate his birthday. He may be gone, but he can still be celebrated. It is hard to celebrate through tears, but it can be done. Lord knows he would be very upset with me for still being this sad. He always wanted people to be laughing and happy.
I look horrible. Tears and braces. They were going back home to Arizona that day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Kids Kids Everywhere. Even In My Hair.

All in favor of meeting Mr. Mayhem?
Thank you for all of your kind words on my show this past Sunday. Mares will be mares, and as an owner of four of them, you would think I would know that. But also this weekend, we picked up our new kids. And I got in trouble because Blake really wanted to name the one Reaper, and not Outlaw, so Reaper it is.
I iz Reaper. I will take you soulz with my good lookz.
Husband went and picked them up while I was riding Saturday morning. He had been outside for all of the hours at that point and when I got there, they were all tuckered out. He had their collars on them already and had decided that the little shy guy was Reaper, and that the bigger noisy one was Mr. Mayhem. These are just their temporary collars, as Blake has ordered a Sons of Anarchy collar with the reaper on it for Reaper, and bought a Men of Mayhem patch to sew onto a black leather collar for Mr. Mayhem. Nope, not spoiled at all.
Meaty is very curious about these weird ass dogs.

And not sure why they like to jump on him.
The first day or so was a little rough for the tiny guys. They were pulled away from mom, placed in a large crate in the truck and driven to a new home. They wanted to be by our sides the whole time, and if you left them in their pen, they would scream and cry and run around and try to head butt the fence or jump out. I felt kind of horrible for the neighbors, because them suckers were loud, but their dogs bark all the time and at any time of day. I dreaded putting the kids away though for fear they wouldn't shut up.
They love chasing Blake.
And they are faster than me.
Their personalities are starting to shine through though. Mr. Mayhem is very fitting of his name. He loves to try and push you around and is not really afraid of the dogs. If Blake taps on something, he jumps right on it. Like a little circus goat. He is a talker, and really likes if you are right next to him and talks if he wants you to go where he is. He is a very social guy, and always was, and I love his little crazy eyebrow look he has going on right now.
Handsome boys! (Reaper in the black collar, Mayhem in the red).

I think Mr. Mayhem has some scope?

Training his goats. Computer nerd/cowboy/racehorse paddock boy/goat trainer.
Reaper was a little slow to warm up. When we visited them before bringing them home, he spent a lot of time with mom and we thought he would be the most distraught about the whole process. But he has taken it like a champ. He loves to eat and eat, and as the runt, I am ok with that. He is a little bit more independent and will go exploring further away from us, much to his brother's dismay. He is also quite snuggly and is becoming more of a pest when I am trying to do things. They are both such sweet and friendly goats though.
Aaaaannnndd there goes Reaper.

He can fly!
Helping with weeding.
At four weeks old, I weigh Mr. Mayhem in at 11.6lbs and Reaper in at 8lbs. It will be interesting to see if Reaper will ever catch up to his big brother, of if he will always be a little on the smaller side. So far they are learning that crying will not make me come back out, and Reaper has decided it is not necessary to cry anymore when I leave. Mr. Mayhem is also doing a lot better with this today too. Unfortunately, last night Blake was using the foam crack filler on some spots when Reaper decided to rub his shoulder, leg and belly through it. I warned him to shut the gate, but no one ever listens to the wife. So, poor little man had to be shaved a little bit, and now he looks slightly diseased. But still adorable.
Can you even handle the cute?
Mounting blocks are the best for fun games.
This dog thing is pretty great too.
So far, it has been like raising puppies/kids. I bought bottles and milk replacer to finish them out of weaning at 8 weeks, but the little turds absolutely refuse to drink from the bottle. So, I guess we are just done with milk. One morning, I let them out and tried to sit down while still in my pj's and they decided that dancing on my boobs was great fun. Boobs with cysts and no bra support. Yeah, none of that. Also, Mr. Mayhem ran through some dog poop and then danced on my pants. It's ok. No one likes pants anyway.
Yes, we could definitely get away with murder.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Event Derby Recap. Because Amanda Said I Would Be Fired if I Didn't.

Giant twisty table of doom.
Bacon and I had a little bit of a rough weekend. My precious magical pony seemed to be in heat and had an extra dash of sass and impatience in her. I tried not to take any of it personally, because she still played my games and gave me great rides. She really extremely fails at braids though. I thought it was the dreaded rubber bands that bothered her, but it was in fact the braiding process. Saturday, I thought I would practice braiding before my ride and I wanted to try yarn instead. She started out great, and then slowly lost her marbles. And one of them landed on my foot. I have done some research, and many have mentioned using chloraseptic spray to numb the area first. Also, a lip chain. Because nobody is going to believe she is a mare if I have to roach her damn mane and she is called Bacon. Just no.
Just trying to bend. No big deal.
Anyways, mare was extra weavy and fidgety on our way to the show. She has been great all year and handled everything like a pro until yesterday. And really, she was just more annoying than anything. And Courage thought he was a stallion and attempted to mount her while tied to the trailer, so she was removed from him. Our dressage warm up was a bit tense but she did what I wanted her to do for the most part. The pasture was a bit hard and slippery, so I didn't want to push anything.
Any time I get to bust out my Aztec Diamonds is ok with me.
Lindsey had warned me before our test that the arena was not very flat and was deeper in a lot of random spots, so the test wouldn't ride terribly smoothly and that maybe keeping it more on the conservative side would be wise. I kept that in mind, and entered nice and straight into the arena. I had a little bit more bend in the left this time, as we worked on it with a new approach on Friday (thanks Lindsey!) and trekked our way around the arena.
Stretch? I don't know what this stretch thing is that you speak of.
I don't think our circles were all that great, as I tried my best to keep my horse trudging through the deep wavy sand. I felt so inconsistent. Our free walk did not include much stretch, as she was quite distracted by the barn next to the arena, but we FINALLY got our left canter lead. It felt nice to finally get past that demon. I had been asking for the canter really close to approaching B (as you are supposed to ask for the canter at any point approaching B in Novice Test A) and this time, I asked a little further out on our trot circle. I think that helped a bit. Overall, even though the arena was not great, I felt like it was a decent test and I was happy with it.
Sweet lord Jesus, I need to sit back.

We win at square halts and being shiny.
I went out to do my course walk, and again the footing was questionable. Slippery dry cheat grass and hard pack ground meant wide turns. The course started with two show jumps and a nice inviting log. A left hander to a picket fence thing, and then a big left turn to what looked like a giant rampy-brushy thing to me.
What Bacon had been waiting for all day.
The course had 15 questions and was thoroughly going to test us. Most of the jumps are a little on the wonky side, but Bacon never looked at any of them. The question I was worried about most was going up a little hill, around a downhill turn to a down bank and then two strides to an up bank. I have never done an up and down bank so quickly before, and I really suck at riding down banks. And of course, we had a rematch with the giant twisty table. I was worried about a few of the jumps, but I really shouldn't have been.
Log jump!

The ramp Bacon cleared with ease.
We were off and running and hit a weird rhythm for the first two fences. I pushed her forward a little more to the third fence and fixed that for the most part. The picket fence thing was a little awkward, but our jump over the ramp was way fun and felt pretty effortless on Bacon's part. Next, we tackled a hay rack and a cabin, none of which bothered her at all. The wagon full of wood was no issue either, even though it looks sketchy as hell.
Hay rack? Damn straight.
Aaaannndd sketchy wagon.
Next was the dreaded banks. I slowed Bacon to a trot when coming down the hill to do the down bank. She went off fine, but before we even got to the banks, my arm band had slipped off and got tangled in my hand when we went down the bank. Not only that, but I had lost my stirrup as well, and Bacon had ears locked on to the up bank but new I was not even close to being ready for it. We had our first run out on xc (BOOO me!).
Damn you down banks.
Must fix this.
That's better.
I chucked the arm band, and came back around and went straight up the bank. Next was a nice chevron jump to a long left rollback to the twisty table (which rode like cake) and another left hander to a fun brush jump. And then ANOTHER left rollback to the ditch. Last was the water, which was the only time I gave a kiss to Bacon and then we galloped across the finish. I was pretty happy to survive the course, but very upset with myself for the run out. Next time, I will not forget my medical bracelet though. Overall, we had 4.8 faults in xc (show jump rules I believe get used in derbies?) and I got handed back my dressage test. We received a 41. I was a little bummed about that because I thought it was better than my lest test (a 34) but different judges like different things. Oh well!
So much shine. I can't even.
Shut up table. No one cares about you.
We ended up in 3rd out of six riders after all was said and done. Really, I can't complain. We never really had our happy together groove like we normally do, but she still tried for me and I can't ask for much more than that. Especially since I never really get to ride because the heat makes my illness work. I did get a nice smile and warm feeling after talking with another rider. She did not know I have only been jumping for a little over a year and had very nice things to say about my riding. Plus, I got to compete with my musketeers and their ponies, and that is so much fun.
This hind end cracks me up.

And so do ditch pictures.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

WW: Existing. And Not Exactly Wordless.

Sought For Speed heading to the test barn after victory
I'm still here. I just don't know what to write or really have anything to write about or what to do with my thoughts. The pain has almost been crippling this past week but today is not so terrible. I had to go to a wedding on Saturday, which we left early because I couldn't stand keeping it together anymore and talking to people with that amount of ache in my body. I also learned that I do not like the way people stare and talk about me when I walk past them because of the way I am walking. Too bad I can't ride everywhere, and then nobody would know the difference.
Blaker and Reaper. 
I was so happy though to watch American Pharoah take the crown before the wedding. My mom and grandma were on the phone with me as well shouting and screaming and all I could do was shake and cry. I couldn't even fumble out a hoot. Blake made fun of me, but I didn't care. Every year, we had hoped it would happen. I figured he had it when he came out of the gate with ears forward, but I tried to shake that feeling off. He knew he had it. And I needed to watch that.
Well hello Mr. Mayhem

I can't tell if he is balancing on one toe or mid hop.

Head butting fists.
I have another event derby to attend on Sunday. This time, it will be where we had our first beginner novice run. The one with the really sketchy looking jumps, and I will again meet with the giant twisty table. I hope it won't be balls hot though so I don't die. Also, goats will be home this weekend (YAY) and the Meatball turned 4 years old yesterday. Anyways, this was going to be a mostly wordless Wednesday, but that turned into a lie. Sorry! Here are some photos from ponies at the track last week. I will be off to the track again today shortly to snag some more!
Speedy has the same sire as Bacon. He also weaves and is special

Heat Man. Cute but naughty.

Heat Man and Speedy lead the pack down the stretch.

Speedy does not like losing.

So, he didn't. But it was fun to run first and second!

Good job buddy.


It's Yuma Landing's turn!

She looks like she smoked something before her race.

Brush your teeth!

Pretty girl. Handsome husband.

She ripped her shoe off during the race.

But still tried really hard.

Cute pink nose!