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Twenty three or so years ago I was struggling. I was at a college that I hated, eating up my parents’ money on an education that I didn’t have a clue how to utilize. Just before the end of the final semester of my freshman year M told me about a lady she knew that worked with Mustangs and how she had a little weanling that was for sale. M wanted me to go look, so on a weekend escaping the hell of higher education I snaked through the back roads and found Belle.
She was tiny and spunky and full of challenge. I was in love. $300 later I was the proud owner of a ’92 Mustang, brown with black trim… my college friends didn’t find the humor, sadly.
Belle started my career as a trainer. She was trained “out the wazoo” and it was with a broken heart that I realized that the little bay mare was only ever going to be a horse first thing in the morning as by noon she was well under 14.2hh.
Belle was never an easy ride. She was a challenge and many of my students had spectacular bolts and falls due to her sass and attitude.
I loved her though. She saved me when I was lost and didn’t know what to do with myself after I left school. I nearly killed her with my ineptitude on more than one occasion and I learned a lot of my more subtle and softer training methods while working with Belle.
She was a fixture in the pastures, the last of my original stock of horses.
This morning she woke up on the other side of the rainbow bridge in a big beautiful pasture, with Spring and Brandy, Aimee and Alise, Baxter and little Seiji… and all the others… with no fences and all the grass and watermelon she could ever want.
- Evidently I can’t write cohesive posts anymore (as my unfinished drafts seem to indicate) so I’m back to my favored form of blogging
- In farm news, we have new poultry much to the amusement and disdain of the USPS.
- They came in waves
- First the French Guinea keets that were met with coos and smiles
- Then the Khaki Campbell ducks that convinced the well-meaning postal workers that they needed water so that I ended up wearing water/duck poo soaked shorts home from picking them up at the post office.
- And then the Novogen chickens which brought the ire of the postal worker/armchair animal husbandry expert that felt the need to lecture me on the cruelties of sending chickens via post. Whatevs lady… I don’t recall asking for your input.
- All the new acquisitions are doing very well and are growing by leaps and bounds.
- It’s been a while since we’ve had ducklings and we all managed to forget how excessively messy they are.
- They are super cute tho…. so that helps
- In other news… It’s been too hot to do much with the horses.
- The heat has been brutal!!!
- So it was probably a good thing that I decided to go ahead and have the lipomas on my forehead removed.
- Surgery was a beast.
- Post op was a solitary nightmare.
- I don’t even wish to relive it to blog about
- in a nutshell…
- facial surgery is painful (all them nerves gotta be feeling things!)
- I reacted poorly to the anesthesia (hello panic attacks and hot flashes for 2 weeks!)
- my family and friends UTTERLY ABANDONED ME for the duration (Love you guys soooo much!)
- but on the plus side… tumors were lipomas (non cancerous) and I’m rocking some pretty bad ass scars… on my face. GRRR!
- I’m in the process of opening an Etsy shop… maybe.
- I’ve been making lots of jewelry and happily people are responding very positively to what I’ve made.
- I’m thinking of making a whole separate blog for that as I don’t necessarily want that traffic over here.
- The boys are still avid cyclists.
- J and B are planning several rides this fall… mini “tours” so to speak
- Aside… Froome won the Tour de France so there is happiness in my house
- He is B’s favorite cyclist
- Along with Peter Sagan who is becoming X’s new favorite as X is becoming interested in cycling as well… particularly sprinting.
- I think that X has always liked the cycling thing he just didn’t think his build was conducive to it, until I pointed out that Sagan is built like a tank (compared to Froome) and he’s a very accomplished sprinter.
- I am coming to a place of peace with cycling.
- We will see how this tentative peace holds once the weather turns and we are all vying for ride time.
- I am feeling optimistic
- School is in session for us and has been since the week after the Fourth of July
- With the exceptionally unrelenting heat we’ve been having I felt that it was in the best interest of all parties to just go ahead and start now so that we could enjoy a few Fall breaks instead.
- It’s going well.
- X and I are avidly reading right now.
- He’s reading Harry Potter (his first time through the series)
- I’m reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth.
- I thought the first two in the series were pretty good, but half way through this one and I’m starting to lose my immersion in the story. At this point I just want whatever is going to happen to just happen already.
- I hate when a novel turns that way for me.
- J bought me a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which I will be delving into once I’m finished with Tris and Four.
- I almost forgot about Luna!
- We have a new dog!
- She’s a Lab/Staffie/Bully mix (I hate using the word Pit)
- She’s adorkable (typo intended)
- She loves me and is a big 40lb teddy bear already and will probably get even bigger!
- She’s about 4 months old now and is all-elbows and knees and goofy gawkiness.
- I love her immensely and Joop tolerates his “little sister” better than he would like me to believe.
- The gardens are doing well
- We desperately need to put up more pickles as B has eaten all of ours.
- All of them
- As in there are no more
- We are getting really creative with zucchini and squash
- We have a deer problem this year which is annoying.
- X and B have been huge helps to M.
- X has done much of the plowing and B is a pro at picking both vegetables and bugs!
- I’m certain that I’m leaving something out but for now that’s it… hopefully there will be a new proper update (sans bullet post) soon!
- I have a new laptop (YAY!!) and it’s serviceable but not brilliant (BOOO!!!) but will allow me to hopefully blog again (YAY?)
- I have purple and green hair… well the ends are purple and green. I had wanted purple and blue but there were concerns as to how my hair would take the blue color and to avoid ending up with icky green from blue over my reddish-gold hair I opted for a turquoise/mermaid green. I like it…. a lot and J loves it.
- I have not been riding much. The winter weather and personal confidence issues have kept me from the saddle. I would like to mostly blame the weather, but that would be a blatant lie.
- J and B have become those cyclists. You know the ones in the insanely tight, slightly embarrassing shorts that speed along the side roads at greater than 15 mph. Their addiction has trumped mine and now Saturdays are spent gearing up for their group rides instead of saddling up.
- I have had 15+ years of having my horse addiction at the forefront of my family’s free time, so I am trying to be graceful about giving up my rides.
- I succeed most of the time.
- But not all the time.
- We are looking at letting B ride with a local cycling club… research still ongoing and any input greatly appreciated. B is a small (tiny) 10 year old but with all the tenacity of Genghis Khan so there’s a balance of allowing him the freedom to go do the thing, but with enough guidance to keep him from (seriously) damaging his body.
- X does not have any aspirations for anything physically demanding. Not saying he is lazy, just that he’s great at conserving energy… and holding down the couch… which I didn’t know was in danger of floating away… but I digress.
- Seriously tho… X is an artist and as we know, art can’t be hurried or harried… it just is and so is X.
- He’s got the mad the skills tho.
- He’s also developed a keen interest in cooking… which has been a difficult undertaking. M and I are very proficient cooks and work well in our independent spaces. We don’t “help” each other directly, usually we are preparing completely separate dishes or different stages of a multi-step meal. I learned by observation and self-lead learning (ie… back when cooking shows actually taught you technique). X is a “teach me” child and I’m like “watch” and he’s like “teach me!” and I’m like “WATCH ME DO THIS THING!!!” and he’s like watching the dog sleep and wandering why I’m now brandishing a chef’s knife and getting agitated. So I’ve left his cooking education to M… who has only kicked him out of the kitchen a few times.
- It’s the age… pre-teens… so much drama.
- Sophie is taking over the world. Nothing new there. She’s currently in love with (hang on let me check my phone)… Bumble Bee (yeah that’s a transformer), don’t judge. In the scheme of things in the world I’d much prefer my ASD daughter to pine over a fictional robot car than a real live human… in an hour or so she will have moved on to Leo (TMNT Leo if you were wondering).
- Sophie is planning to dye her hair pink when she turns 40 and will be moving into a Hello Kitty themed house when she is 30… she’s got it all mapped out. After a couple years of telling us this she finally decided that I could move in with her 🙂
- I have been flirting with the idea of vlogging. I haven’t actually managed to record anything yet but the planning continues. I have a camera that will do, this laptop that will begrudgingly allow me to edit and a desire to do it…. and yet I have recorded nothing.
- I really got into subscription boxes for a couple months. I will be doing a review of the one that I have coming in the next few days, so be looking for that. I am currently only getting two boxes and one of those won’t come until next month. It may turn into a regular feature (and an excuse to blog more frequently).
- I also really got into planners and travelers notebooks. Kyle and I made several TN covers back around Thanksgiving and while I used my TN as a planner for a while, it just wasn’t working for me. I use it almost exclusively for journal writing or brain dumps or art forays. After a substantial amount of research I settled on an Hobonichi. I ADORE my Hobonichi. I ordered from the actual Japanese site and had the awesome experience of getting the big yellow bag in the mail 🙂 That was definitely a happy day!
- I am not remotely artistic in my Hobonichi… I simply use it as a planner/schedule and it is perfect for me… Perfect paper and perfect layout!
- My pen addiction is growing. I still love my fountain pens but I’ve also taken a shine to many Japanese pens too. I will need to do a “what’s in my pen case” blog at some point to introduce the insanity!
- Fred (the cat) is quite disgruntled that I am disturbing his heated sleeping mat (the laptop) and has walked across the keyboard twice now. I’m not amused Fred.
- We are homeschooling demons this year!! We are using the Build Your Library curriculum and it is as if it were written with our family exactly in mind! Bolstering our BYL with Life of Fred math (LOVE IT) and will be adding in a cursive writing and possibly a Latin element in the next few weeks.
- Yes we year round school.
- No the children don’t hate it
- Actually they are the ones that push to do school as they (like their parents) are avid learners and we often go off on in depth tangents during our history and science and literature studies.
- Not math tho.
- `Math is a beast.
- Math had both boys in tears today because math was being all consistent and you know… literal.
- I feel ya boys…. Math… not my thing… but hey I’m all up on my cardinality of sets and ummm…. communitive and non-communitive properties of obligate carnivores.
- This is what happens when you are learning math from a fictional 5 year old… I love you Life of Fred books… you make Math fun!!
- I have kept an air plant alive for like 2 months now.
- I’ve also kept a jade plant alive for nearly a year!! What is this? A green thumb??? Nahhhhh!!
- M and I have started craftiness again. HGTV may have taken away Carol Duvall and Martha Stewart but we have discovered the craft dude at the flea market and we are good to go.
- Copics 2 for $5… just let that sink in for a moment.
- I’m not even upset about sharing his existence bc he has more stuff than I can buy… even tho we have tried. Beads $1/strand! Gaaaaahhhhhh
- So yeah my supplies are restocked and we are go for creativity!!
- YouTube is my new best friend.
- I spend my evenings watching stamping tutorials and card making how-tos. Or watercolor tips, or how to cook Korean foods ( I LOVE YOU MAANGCHI!!!) or lifestyle vlogs like Simon and Martina (I cried when she hugged the fridge goodbye!!)
- I’ve discovered that there are some SAHM vlogs that are scary. I watched one the other day that consisted of the vlogger (a very frumpled looking young mom) babbling incoherently for 5 mins about a neighbor that was odd and in between complaints she would catch a glimpse of herself in her camera and have to talk about how “on point” her make up was that day… I made it 5 mins (fast forwarding) before I had to bail as it just was a hot mess going nowhere fast.
- I also frequent Book-tube a great deal. I don’t read many of the recommended books but I enjoy listening to people talk about books and authors. I don’t think I could pull off that kind of vlogging…. I wouldn’t want to give away anything going on in the book so it would basically be me reading the synopsis and saying “yeah I liked it” The End.
- I’ve been gaming a little more often recently… Dark Souls 3 comes out in the next few months and I have it pre-ordered 🙂
- I find it interesting to see how there are waves of people that hit DS2. There’s a whole new group playing if for the first time now and it’s funny to run into them and experience their surprise as a monster pops out in an unexpected place or they are suddenly battling the Pursuer… for the 5th time.
- And that’s about it for now… we are making Spring time farm plans that involve fencing and buying poultry and I’m hoping that as the weather warms and the days get longer I’ll find myself on the back of a horse again. There will be pig updates and garden updates and a few other things that I’m planning so keep an eye out as I’m hoping to be updating more frequently again! 🙂
So…. My laptop died.
Of course it died just as I was getting inspired to write again.
So I’ve hijacked M’s chromebook to update that I am in the research portion of my new laptop acquisition. It’s slow going.
In other news, I’ve gotten into the travelers notebook thing. Not the crazy art level ones, but just the “oh my gah those are so neat I must have one even if I have nothing to actually write in it” ones. I bought a ZLYC instead of a Midori because the ZLYC came with a standard and passport size plus a pen holder for the same price as just the standard Midori. Initially I was disappointed as the leather was wonky and the notebooks didn’t fit properly. Thankfully I had been binge watching YouTube videos setting them up so it made correcting the problems much easier.
I am thoroughly confused by the monthly calendar that came with the ZLYC. I had to basically rework it and create tip-outs to set it up with my prefered 7 day week. I attempted to do some of the artsy scrapbooking things that I’ve seen other people create and to be honest it’s just not my bag. I have a couple of months that I think look awesome but others look like a craft store threw up on it. Go me.
So I ordered the Midori weekly planner notebook and I absolutely love it! It is perfect for my planning style and while I do have a few strategic stickers it is nowhere near the train wreck that is the monthly spread. I would include pics here if I weren’t hijacking M’s chromebook… hopefully I can edit them in later on.
Getting into the traveler’s notebooks obviously lead to a resurgence of my pen/office supplies/paper supplies addiction. Luckily gel pens and such are a cheap addiction generally speaking. I was able to swing by Binders in Charlotte and nab up a several fun pens… I may do a haul post as some of them are pretty awesome (looking at you Slicci 025).
In other other news…. We are riding in the Western Carolina Hunter Pace series this season. Unfortunately we missed the first pace but we managed the second one at ScotsGrove. It was our first time at their farm and we had a… somewhat adventurous ride. Evidently the rules of passing need to be reviewed. We were unsafely passed multiple times. But we didn’t let that get us down! Happily we maintained a consistent pace and finished in 3rd place! Go Pip!!
We are hoping to hit the HP at Biltmore this weekend if our coggins make it back to us before Sunday. My coggins run out 2 days before the event so I’m hoping that the 2 weeks we allowed for them to come back will be sufficient. I’d really hate to miss the Biltmore pace. J and I brought home a yellow ribbon (3rd) several years ago. And of course L and I had our worst ride ever at Biltmore, finishing dead last but considering all the things that went wrong on that ride, finishing was as good as getting a ribbon (1 hour of backtracking for my lost phone, L and Paris falling off the mountain after getting pelted with a golf ball, bad footing, Pip’s first outing, Noorah’s antics and elimination at the start, and my emotional blow up/break down/psychotic break at the trailer… it was awful).
***UPDATE*** The coggins are IN!!! Right after I called to put our names on the gate list I got a call from the vet saying that the coggins were in!! WooHoo!! Assuming we are all well on Sunday then we are good to go!
I am still working out the logistics of doing a YouTube channel. I have been periodically posting videos but not full on vlogs. My lack of operable computer is one of the hampering factors but I’m sure I’ll have it sorted out soon enough. There’s a learning curve and I’m slowly figuring it out. We are pretty much filming every time we go to a pace (Biltmore will be J’s turn to wear the goPro EEEK!!!) so hopefully I’ll have a way to post a highlight vid soon, because trust me you don’t want to sit through 2 hours of us riding. Sure there are some hilarious parts (“I don’t even know you Pip”) but there are long spans of silence that even we the riders find somewhat dull and boring to relive.
So anyway, I’m hoping everybody is enjoying the cooler Fall weather and look for more updates soon!
I promise there will be update pictures of Fawkes soon. Every time I’ve set aside a morning for horse work something, namely rain, has conspired against me. My optimistic daily habit of wearing breeches in the hopes of an impromptu ride have long since faded… I feed in slip on Keens now… I’m not even sure where my boots and chaps are anymore.
Honestly, other than setting up feed I haven’t been doing much with the horses. My late evening rides have been hijacked by the boys evening Doodle trail rides on their bikes. I’m very proud of them and how Beckett has progressed to riding a geared bike and is forming dreams of riding the Tour de France. I love seeing the fire of passion in his eyes and dimly remember that feeling myself when I was 9… All those dreams… just waiting for my time.
At some point “my time” slipped by without my notice. Admittedly I made choices that ended my wild and carefree days of youthful freedom. And I do not begrudge them… much. I was 25 when Sophie was born, firmly ensconced in a tiny riding career that had allowed me to work with local horses and teach lessons. Sophie turned the world upside down, in a good way, and I was slowly figuring out how to do horses and be a parent when we discovered that Sophie wasn’t exactly typical and I felt that I needed to focus all of my attention on her situation and what it meant for the future.
So slowly, without me really noticing it at first, my time started slipping away. Equestrian me took a backseat to parent me as I embraced this new chapter. I watched my horses age… Spring in his 30s, Aimee just behind him. We adopted our sons and furthered embraced this new path. Then my horses began to die and I realized how tied to them I would always be. Inconsolable depression followed by the realization that Equestrian me had been gone for so long that my riding skills, were dormant and rusty. A transitional horse was purchased and… oh the joy!! Lady rekindled that fire and drive!! The passion that had taken a backseat to Mommyhood was still there! I was back, balancing those two halves of my life like a pro… so many horses entered our life at that time and I was so happy.
And then it all fell apart.
With Baxter’s death part of me crumpled up and died too. Of course I went on to ride again, finding a happy place with Pip after a very hesitant start. Things were good for a while… we rode so much and we made plans of how 2015 would be the year that we would finally SHOW! and COMPETE! and finally go out there and put it all on the line.
Of course that didn’t happen. Martha became unwell and I could not rationalize asking for the time to go riding. I could not be so very selfish in such a difficult time. The stress of trying to keep everybody happy erupted late in the year and I closed the farm, asking boarders to leave which effectively severed friendships at the time.
From Nov 9 to today I’ve ridden 8 times. I’ve been out to work with the horses, I’ve held them for farrier and vet visits. I’ve played with the foals… but riding just doesn’t exist anymore. Those big dreams for 2015 disappeared under the glaring eye of reality. And the realization… my time has passed. All those dreams and hopes for what I would do when I grew up… at some point I grew up and forgot to do them. I was so busy trying to keep everyone else happy that I sat with all the tools I needed for my dreams in my hands, but failed to use them. There’s a lesson there friends.
So now I sit, admittedly sad, scrolling through facebook pics and memes, maintaining the illusion that I’m still “in” the horse world with witty horse centered posts… it’s all a lie. I want to be in that club but my time ran out and my dues are late…. I’ll stand here by the sidelines and cheer my friends on as they accomplish their riding goals. I’ll vicariously ride with them all as they fly around cross country courses and dance in the dressage ring. I will follow the training of everybody’s baby and laugh and cry with them at their antics and foibles. I will offer advice when asked and act as the sounding board when needed. I will be available for emergency cavaletti transportation. I will watch and I will soar with them as they fly so high.
But it’s no longer my dream.