Saturday, October 30, 2010

Manly Men

They fix cars. They build houses. They heft big boxes. They open stubborn jars. They wield axes and wear hammers on their belts. They climb huge mountains in a single bound. They look good in flannel and sweat.

My particular version, this summer, has torn off a swamp cooler, fixed our roof, torn down a very large chicken coop, torn out cement, installed window wells, made broken lights work again, installed a counter-top, reclaimed our lawn from the jungle it had become, painted a garage, painted a living room and kitchen, hauled many bales of hay, moved large furniture, and, just today, finished fixing the pipes that provide water to the pasture.

Yeah, they're good to have around. I'm especially fond of mine. I just need to get him a flannel shirt...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Christmas Weather

Snow, snowmen, sledding, gloves, beanies, marshmallow coats... Ah, the joys of the white Christmas.

Yeah... I'm still getting used to that idea. For me, Christmas weather hit about a week ago. It was rainy, and wet, and cloudy, and still hovering around 60 degrees during the day, 40 at night. I got out the Christmas music (which I've been playing ever since) and my fuzzy socks and prepared to settle in for a wonderful winter.

Then it snowed. And it really got too cold for comfort. Grr.

See, I'm a California girl. I've had Christmases where I can go for a walk in jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt. It's warm enough that my family goes out and plays tennis in the afternoon, and cool enough that a fire in the fireplace is delightful.

Really, I think I'm just ready for Christmas anyway. Enough with this whole Halloween business. Besides, the closer we are to Christmas, the closer we are to my birthday... which is really my favorite holiday.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

For Luck Only

Horseshoes are an international symbol of all things horsey. They're great decorations, which is funny to me, given their intended location.

That aside, I've decided to do a quick blurb on the purposes of horseshoes, and why, as a general rule, I don't believe in them.

Horseshoes are intended to protect a horse's feet. Back in the day when horses were generally kept in stalls and then were taken out to ride or pull carriages over rough cobblestones, it made sense to protect your horse's feet this way. Horses are not meant to walk on man-made streets; it's wears down their feet and then you get a lame horse. It would be like intentionally driving a car over a patch of tacks. The effect was not quite as immediate, but would still leave you without a horse sooner rather than later.

Along with this, horseshoes can also be corrective. I've seen shoes that cover the entire surface of the horse's foot, with pads and gels and lifts and all sorts of expensive contraptions that help a horse's joints, heel, frog, etc., stay in the right place and allow the horse to keep moving.

However, what they don't tell you is that a horse's foot is made to flex. Every time a horse steps down, the hoof spreads out just a little bit from the weight of his body. This flexing actually helps the blood to circulate through the horse's feet and legs. Shoeing inhibits that flexing motion and actually reduces the sensation that the horse has in his foot. Sometimes (so I've heard, though I've never been able to witness this) when a horse has shoes removed, he'll prance around a bit because he's feeling a pins-and-needles sensation in his feet as the blood is able to circulate freely once again.

Also, because shoes artificially elevate the horse's feet off the ground, the frog (the sensitive part in the middle of the foot) retracts somewhat and gets soft, so that eventually it is painful for the horse to walk around on some types of ground without shoes.

In general, I believe in doing things as naturally as possible. Mustangs don't wear shoes, and their feet generally do just fine. The long edges get chipped off as they walk and run over rocks; they end up with perfectly shaped feet just by doing what they do. Most domestic horses don't have the advantage of miles of territory over which to roam, so they need to be trimmed periodically. Fortunately, there are barefoot trimmers who specialize in trimming without shoeing. And when they're done, your horse looks nice and purdy again. It's like a horsey manicure, really. I'm a little jealous.

Okay, enough with the nerdy stuff. On to the really important question:

Horseshoes are a symbol of luck, but how does one care for said luck? I've heard that the horseshoe needs to be faced points-up, thus creating a well and keeping the luck safely inside. I've also heard that the horseshoe needs to be faced points-down, creating a waterfall of luck underneath it and pouring the luck on the house in which it resides. How do you like your horseshoes?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Forget the Worm

The early bird gets the furnace repair people out to their house before November 8th!

In the meantime, we're freezing.

The End.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Good Blog Is...

So, after seeing a couple of blogs that I personally enjoy and that seem to be enjoyed by all sorts of people who don't actually know the blogger, I've recognized some similarities that I think I should start to incorporate into my own blog. Here they are, and we'll see if they really work!

A Good Blog Is...

1. Cared For. If one takes the time to blog on a daily or almost daily basis, people are much more likely to come back looking for more.

2. Somewhat Anonymous. Whimsical names of family and friends should be used on a regular basis, rather than their actual names, as this helps preserve the privacy of one's loved ones.

3. Grammatically Correct. Smart people like smart stuff. Everyone will enjoy the blog more if the blogs are written with correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and organization.

4. Visually stimulating. Blogs with pictures are far more interesting to read. It's that simple. We're really all children at heart, I guess!

5. Interactive. Posting questions, polls, contests, puzzles, and links that encourage readers to get engaged is far more likely to draw them back for more.

6. Themed. Readers like to know what they're getting into. Yes, blogs are about life and personal experiences, but it's difficult when you don't know if you're going to get religion, humor, whimsy, a story, or personal improvement.

With these in mind, and with the idea that I'd like to become a better blogger, I have a few things to work on! One thing at a time, I think. At least I'm posting almost daily now!

What do you like to see in a blog? (And there's my interactive question! Boo-yah!)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Less Weird

That was my euphemism last time around. "Ryan," I would say after examining my ever-growing body, or after being kicked in the bladder, "Pregnancy is so weird!"

After it was over, I was able to admit the truth. Pregnancy is awful. I couldn't admit it at the time, of course. Pregnancy is, after all, the miracle of childbirth, and who doesn't want to be a part of that, right? Right?

It's a tricky question, I know.

But let's face it. Getting "fat" is the least of your worries. There's the nausea, the moodiness, the fat feet, the fat fingers, the increased familiarity with the bathroom, the super long shirts and pants that won't stay up... and then there's the fact that your insides all get pushed up into your ribcage to make room for the precious little one. And, because you're carrying a lot more weight and it's all in your front, your back gets pulled foward and out of place and you posture gets all screwed up. I could go on... and on... and on... but I won't. :)

This time around, it still sucks. But the cool thing is, I knew it was going to, and something about calling it the way I see it makes it more easy to deal with. I'm able to deal with the back pains and potty breaks a little better, and this time, I'm able to see how the shifts my body is making really are little miracles. So, I can't walk very well... my hips are spreading apart in preparation for the big day! So, my stomach is squished and I can't eat a full meal at a time... I can feel exactly where the baby is! It's weird to me that I'm getting excited about these little things. But it's less weird than last time around.

And, as a side note, having the cutest little Schprid in the world makes the time seem to go faster. I can't focus on myself nearly as much when I've got a one-year-old who needs cheerios and water and a diaper change and hugs when she falls and stories read to her.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Today was gorgeous. It rained, and rained, and rained. My Mom would have called it a "Day for the Ducks." I think it was a day for me.

We had pipes that needed to be fixed. Ryan went out early to dig the holes and replace sections of leaky pipe while I worked on breakfast and a put a chicken in the crockpot. At 9 am, I was feeling very productive. I set the table with bacon, eggs, english muffins, and sliced kiwi. I got Schprid up and dressed, then called Ryan in to eat. Outside was cold, and fresh, and alive. Inside was warm and cozy and smelled of good food. It felt good to work early in the morning.

The day continued on like that... I taught a riding lesson, and a good friend of mine came to spend the afternoon with us, and the day was filled with rain and laughter and conversation and noodles and vegetables and the smell of roasting chicken with garlic. And later, there were cinnamon rolls.

Days like these, when everything lines up and works out the way it should, are what give life depth and meaning. Life is always worth living. Love is always worth the effort. Family is always worth the work. It is days like today that show me why.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Christmas Story

My Mother-in-law called me a few days ago. In case you were wondering, she wants a story for Christmas. I was wondering. It plagued me. Kept me up nights. But, thank goodness, now I know. Now I can stop wondering about what she wants and try instead to figure out what on earth I'm going to write about.

She wants a story with a happy ending.

She gets scared of the Abominable Snow Monster on the old claymation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You know, the one who ends up just having a toothache and really is very nice at the end?

I love my Mother-in-law. I also think the world needs more people like her. She's happy and bubbly and sweet and generous and still somehow manages to get everything in the world done.

You know, the amazing type.

I think I'll write about a bubble. What's happier than a bubble? This should work.

Once upon a time, there was a Bubble. He didn't begin as a Bubble. He began as water and soap and knew nothing of the world except the inside of the small container in which he lived. Then, one day, the container was opened. A small child with stubby little fingers drew him out of the container with a stick and joyously blew into the Bubble the breath of life. As the Bubble swelled and formed, he knew real life for the first time. Colors, shapes, sounds surrounded him. He discovered the sky, and the breezes that frolicked from tree to tree. He rode them, higher, and higher, and he spun, danced, and floated through the clean air. Every moment was pure bliss. He began to understand the sounds that came to him on the wind. Laughter. As he spun, he realized that there were many children, dancing on the ground as he danced in the air. Joy filled the little Bubble, and he would have laughed with them if he could. The children followed him, left and right, faster and slower, reaching out to him with the happiness that only a child can display. They played, the children and the Bubble, reaching toward each other, but never quite touching. Always the breezes carried the Bubble just out of their reach, and the children would squeal in delight. Then, finally, the wind slowed, the Bubble slowly sank, and the children reached out to him, wanting to carry him. Closer, and closer, and POP!

That was the end of the Bubble.

After that the Bubble is a sticky mass of soap on hands that get clapped together, ground into dirt, washed down the sink, and thence takes its long journey out to the sea.

I think that happy endings really are a matter of timing, don't you?

Any ideas about what story I should write for my Mother-in-law? Ten points if I choose your idea!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Most Important Detail

I totally forgot to include this in my last post! It's key.

Remember how Cara was Schprid until we discovered her gender and picked out a name for her? And remember how we still call her Schprid sometimes, just because that's part of who she is?

Yeah, Baby #2 is Wooble.

So there you have it. My family: Mommy, Daddy, Schprid, and Wooble. And Cruise and Ki'i, if you count the animals, which I do.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Details

Let's see... I'm due on March 30th, which means I'm at 16 weeks as of today. I've been feeling pretty good as long as I don't eat more than 6 bites of food after 5 pm. If I do, that's when I get sick. I'm showing a little bit, but just enough to look chunky around the midsection. I hide that as best I can. ;) I guess the pregnancy explains the fact that I've been eating Japanese noodles every day for lunch for the last 3 weeks. Oh! And for those of you who've been dying to know, I lost three weeks a couple months ago because I thought I was due on March 8th. When the doctor couldn't find the heartbeat, she sent me down for an ultrasound, at which point we discovered that I wasn't due until March 30th. :( Ah, well, I'm really just thrilled that I won't be pregnant during the heat of summer. With no cooling system in our house, that would be absolutely miserable.

I've found a doctor that I really like. She's a GP (I swear I'm never going to another OBGYN!) and we've had several appointments with her, both for me and for Cara's well-child exams. She's a good doctor, and she's also a human being. She talks to me like I'm a person. It's great. So far everything looks good with the pregnancy. Well, I've lost 14 pounds since getting pregnant, and that's without throwing up at all, but that should start to even out pretty soon. I really think a big part of it is that I'm actually moving during the day, what with chasing around a 1-year-old, taking care of a horse, and having property on which to move. Combine that with not being able to eat dinner, and the pounds are comin' right off. While I appreciate it, I'm also a little worried, seeing as how I'm not supposed to be losing weight during pregnancy. I'm sure things will work out fine, though.

At this point, Ryan and I think it will be a boy, but I'm nowhere near as certain as I was with Cara.

What gender do you think it will be? Do you have any name suggestions? We need to use the initials RKR.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010


So here's the thing about photography. I love it. I love to look at well-done pictures. I love the stories they tell and the beauty they portray. And when you compare it to painting, or crafting, or other types of artistry, it's one of the easier ones. Point, click, maybe edit some, and send it to Wal-Mart. A few days later, you get your pictures back in the mail. It's glorious. At that point, you can frame them, scrapbook them, collage them, or give them away as gifts. Easiest form of art in the world. Granted, I say that, but I don't know that I actually have any talent for it. Sometimes I get lucky and my pictures turn out good, but I never know why. I'd love to get better at it.

At the same time, I have a hard time remembering to get out my camera. It's lovely to take pictures, but as a general rule, I want to be playing with the horse, smelling the flower, climbing the mountain... It's hard to live life when you're busy archiving it. It's hard to archive life when you're busy living it. And here's the other problem: both the living and the archiving are essential to the human experience!